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Containment Boom Used In Aquaculture
Texas Boom Company isn’t the biggest fish in the pond amongst containment boom manufacturers. However, we are quite adept at working with customers to devised customized solutions to meet their needs and tackle problems. Recently, TBC landed a call from the owner of a Texas-based fish farming operation. His recently established 135-acre Redfish (Red Drum) farm is located near Port Lavaca, Texas. This aquaculture (sometimes referred to as mariculture) operation raises fish that are harvested and sold to restaurants and grocery stores. Aquaculture is an expanding field, and operating techniques are perpetually evolving.
The challenge at hand was to utilize a containment boom to address a combination of problems. When feed was being distributed into the water for the fish to eat, several issues were arising. It was a common occurrence for the wind to push the floating fish feed to shore before it was consumed by the fish. As the fish approached the shoreline, it increased their exposure to wading birds that lurked at the side of the fish ponds waiting to prey on the fish. In addition, the fish food that was not consumed would end up on the shoreline, attracting more birds, and worse yet, wild hogs. Wild hogs are well known to destroy all sorts of terrain, including the banks of these fish ponds. Each of these issues translates into unwanted expenses and losses for anyone involved in aquaculture.
The team at Texas Boom Company worked with the owner of the mariculture farm to develop specifications for a customized containment boom system that was big enough to corral the floating fish feed while not impacting the movement of the fish below the surface. This collaborative process included a site visit by TBC’s president to fully understand the challenges and land on a successful solution. Ultimately, a small 6-inch containment boom (3-inch freeboard and 3-inch draft) was agreed upon, with a color selection of black since visibility to boaters was a non-issue. Because this installation was intended to be permanent, stainless steel nuts and bolts were used to connect the grommets versus installing aluminum quick connectors. This grommeted connector design is the type used on TBC's Type I Turbidity Curtains and is less expensive. In this case, the containment boom was designed to contain fish feed instead of oil or debris.
The containment boom was deployed in a rectangular shape in the middle of the pond, utilizing stakes to anchor the boom into the desired position. Because the ponds are relatively shallow, this was deemed a more cost-effective solution than utilizing anchors. The containment boom is positioned close enough so that the feed can be tossed into the containment zone from the shore. Yet it keeps the food from reaching the shoreline that contributes to the issues outlined above.
Prior to deployment of the fish farm containment boom, there was an expectation that it may take a few days for the fish to adjust to the new set up. However, as shown in the video below, the fish immediately began feeding despite the presence of the boom. Early feedback on this recent project has been all positive from the owner of the fish farming operation. Once the field test on this initial project is complete, the other ponds on the property will be similarly outfitted.
This project serves as a great demonstration of the ability of Texas Boom Company to collaborate with a customer, agree on custom specifications, and deliver a quality product with a short lead time. Our product specifications are the starting point for our customers to consider. We are always happy to deal with the “custom” customer. We offer flexibility in sizes including floatation, skirt height, ballast weights, and tension cables. We can also modify colors, fabrics, connectors, and anchoring solutions. From single-use products to heavy duty products built to last, TBC has you covered. If you know what you need, we can build it. If you aren’t sure what solution will best meet your needs, consult with one of our experts. Texas Boom Company is here to serve, with customer satisfaction a top priority.