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Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture: production of tilapias, vegetables and aquatic macrophytes in a water recirculation system


World aquaculture has been growing greatly in recent decades mainly due to reduction in fish stocks and the increase in fish consumption. Thus the development of new production technologies has been essential to supply the growing demand. The integrated production system of fish and vegetables called aquaponics allows both the recycling of nutrients in the wastewater of fish which are utilized in the growth of vegetables, as the constant reuse of water in fish production. Reducing the amount of inputs and the operating costs as well as the need for water and the amount of wastewater which tends to facilitate the environmental licensing of the project, one of the major barriers to growth in fish production in various regions of the country including the state of São Paulo. This system is already a reality in some countries like US, Canada and Australia showing high productivity of both crops (fish and vegetables), since it is a system high control of water quality parameters, weather protection and more control against pests and diseases. In Brazil, despite some scientific studies have already been done there is still no commercial venture working with the aquaponics with a volume of production or satisfactory technical and economic results. This project proposes a study of adjustments related to system carrying capacity, improvements on the ideal fish and vegetables ratio among others to make it economic feasible. It is also proposed the use of a macrophyte to increase efficiency in water treatment, and consequently the fish stocking density and also represents a possible alternative nutrient source reducing feed costs .It is believed that the increase in production efficiency coupled with the reduction in input costs and diversification of marketed products will increase the economic efficiency. It also enables the application for environmentally friendly certifications. Thus, the research aims to adjust the aquaponics system through the determination of the ideal fish-plant rstio, the role of macrophyte in water treatment and fish feeding and evaluate the economic reuse benefits nutrients allowing the implementation of the first commercial aquaponics production in Brazil. In Phase 1 the goal is to establish the technical and economic basic aspects of the project, while in Phase 2, aims to expand the structure and crop cycles to a commercial scale and evaluate the use of Lemna in fish feed allowing the full reuse of nutrients. It will be used Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus in two stages distinct growth and Lactuca sativa L. Lettuce hydroponics as model in modules installed in the School of Agriculture Luiz de Queiroz - ESALQ / USP, in Piracicaba - SP. (AU)

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