Copper Alloys in Marine Aquaculture
Sustaining the Future
Why Choose Copper Alloy Cages
Copper is an essential micro-nutrient, helping achieve good health and development in all forms of life. Due to its natural metallurgical and biological properties, copper alloys are a perfect material for both surface and submersible marine aquaculture enclosures for near- and off-shore sites.
Copper alloy mesh aquaculture cages improve the sanitary conditions, productivity and sustainability of operations for farmers raising salmon, trout, sea bream, sea bass, cod, cobia, yellow tail and other species.
Copper alloy mesh naturally inhibits biofouling, improving water flow and circulation, helping maintain higher oxygen levels that inhibit parasites and pathogens from growing and infecting fish. This reduces the need for added antibiotics and anti-fouling chemicals. Feeding costs can be reduced by 15%.
Clean copper alloy mesh allows cages to maintain their shape against strong ocean waves and currents, even those offshore. Larger cage volumes prevent fish crowding and help maintain high oxygenation that ultimately improve yields. The mesh also possesses high mechanical strength and formability, which is essential in the creation of effective marine aquaculture containment structures.
High-strength copper alloy mesh resists predator attacks and reduces escapes of farmed fish, preventing competition and interbreeding with wild fish stocks.
Copper alloy meshes do not need to be removed or cleaned to dispose of biofouling that can grow on traditional enclosures. This lowers overall costs associated with maintenance and diver risk.
Long-lived and recyclable
Copper alloy mesh lasts for 5 years or more depending on application conditions. It loses little mass over time, and is fully recyclable. Recycled material is used in initial production of copper alloy mesh, which further reduces CO2 emissions, compared with traditional polymer nets. High-strength and corrosion-resistant copper alloy meshes are compatible with cages commonly used in the marine aquaculture industry, allowing for rapid implementation at existing cultivation centres.
Current Use and Future Applications
Copper alloy mesh technology began in 1975 with small salmon farming enclosures in Northeastern USA. Since then, alloy technology has evolved and now is being successfully used in Japan, Australia and Chile, providing productive and sustainable solutions for fish farmers. Development of future applications and trials of improved copper alloy materials, mesh forms, and aquaculture system configurations are underway with a variety of species in China, Korea, Panama, Norway, South Africa, Turkey and the United States.
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