Built in 2009, the Comau Breeding and Genetics Centre (BGC) implemented RAS technologies both in 2011 and in 2018. Belonging to the salmon roe producer Aquagen, this facility is located on the very remote peninsula of Ayacara, in the Los Lagos region, which is accessible via a 40-minute trip by light aircraft, or a five-hour ferry ride from Puerto Montt, in southern Chile.
“If remoteness was the first challenge, repurpose was the second one,” said Marcelo Varela, general manager of Billund Aquaculture Chile. “We contributed technology to two units, to the broodstock and fry rooms. The first one was completely new, but the fry room already existed and was operating using a flow-through water system. It had to be converted to RAS and keep within the space limits in what was formerly a feed warehouse,” he said. That required a very compact RAS design.
Moreover, the fry room was equipped to switch from RAS to flow-through and vice versa. “That means total flexibility. Out of eight tanks, you can run one with flow-through and keep the remaining seven ones using RAS and later recirculate that first one without having to halt the operation,” said Pablo Rojas, LATAM Engineering Manager at Billund Aquaculture.
Varela also highlights the importance of keeping good relations with the surrounding community in this remote location. “Aquagen Chile always put great emphasis on maintaining a good relationship with the neighboring communities. We had to be careful not to upset the balance in that relationship and respect the way of life of the Ayacara community. Clearly, the success of BCG Comau can be greatly attributed to that harmonious relationship that we have achieved,” he said.