Remarkable Results For Shellfish Farming – Reef Cubes – REFAS
Reef Enhancement of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sites Project (REFAS)
ARC Marine’s project “Reef Enhancement of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sites (REFAS)” is all about researching the use of Reef Cubes to boost production around shellfish farms. Earlier this year, ARC deployed 96 Reef Cubes and there have been significantly positive results! After a matter of days, Brown Crabs, Spider Crabs and young fish were seen congregating around the reef. With each returning dive, more species are being detected, and ARC will keep track of the reef’s development as time goes by.
Funding The Project
Funding for the project came from the Centre for Environment and Fisheries (CEFAS) as part of their Seafood Innovation Fund Scheme. The project earlier this year was a brief trial as part of a 3-month feasibility initiative. Later this year ARC hopes to resume the project with further funding for 18-months. The research will follow the progression of the reef and an extension to be built nearby. The results will then go into scientific articles with the aim of publication in 2022.
Aims Of The Reef
Specifically, the aims of the reef are to enhance the biodiversity in the area and to improve the space for lobster and crab fishing. The use of artificial structures could be a major part of seafood farming in the future as part of something called multi-trophic integrated aquaculture. Multi-trophic means that the farms target multiple levels of the food chain. When applied from the bottom-up it creates a more sustainable way of sea farming.
The location of the reef is based in the waters of Torquay near to an innovative seafood ranch and it’s hoped that the ranch and the reef will complement each other perfectly. Both the reef and the ranch will provide different types of food supply and shelter to surrounding marine organisms. They will also provide different types of food for humans to eat once harvested!
Monitoring and Assessment
To monitor and assess the reef, ARC has begun collecting data aboard their small potting vessel Mia Bella and with their fishing partner Mr A. Penfold aboard his – Excalibur.
The title of ARC’s project is Reef Enhancement of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sites (REFAS). To keep up to date with developments as they occur, keep an eye on the website or follow ARC Marine’s social media on LinkedIn and Instagram.