Mainstream Aquaculture is a medium sized business that produces barramundi. It is located in Werribee, Melbourne and has operated since 2004. The business utilises geo-thermal energy and recycles water for reuse.
Mainstream Aquaculture had previously carried out a resource assessment looking at its main material input, fish feed. The assessment recommended that the business conduct a study of factors that influence feeding regimes and estimated potential savings of 50%.
In 2013, Mainstream Aquaculture successfully applied for funding from Sustainability Victoria to conduct a trial of differing feeding regimes that had been recommended in the earlier assessment. Sustainability Victoria provided funding for 75% of the costs to employ a specialist for 3 months to trial differing feeding regimes and studying varying factors such tank designs, filtration systems, fish husbandry techniques, and stocking densities to determine the optimum feeding conditions/systems.
The trial found that by ensuring fish are presented each day with feed levels as close as possible to their appetite levels (further feeding is just wasted) and ensuring an optimal tank environment they would be able to halve the amount of feed used for the same output, i.e. a materials efficiency improvement of 50%.
Mainstream Aquaculture’s main metric is cost of feed per kilogram of production. The findings from the trialled feeding regime found that this cost had been reduced by 20%. Since conclusion of the trial, with all feeding changes implemented, the cost has been reduced by a further 10%, this despite a considerable rise in the price of feed.
Mainstream Aquaculture has projected that annual savings from the feeding regime will increase from $100,000 in 2014 to $383,000 by 2018.
Mainstream Aquaculture is investigating further options for increased feed efficiencies and more savings.
The resource efficiency project has given us the tools and support required to accelerate our material efficiency program, delivering significant savings which can be redirected into business growth initiatives. We expect the momentum gained from the project to be maintained well into the future.
Boris Musa – Managing Director and CEO, Mainstream Aquaculture