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August 11, 2010

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Home » Metro » Environment

Fish farms see future in copper alloy meshes

BETTER life for fish, better profits for fish farmers.

The Chile Pavilion has invited visitors to get a preview into the future of global aquaculture at the World Expo by witnessing how fish farming becomes easier and cleaner with the use of innovative copper alloy meshes that replace normal fishing nets.

The use of copper alloys was introduced in China last year and the technology is now in a three-year testing period by scientists in the East China Sea.

By 2012, when the testing is completed, China will probably become the fourth country in the world to replace fishing nets with copper alloy meshes, following Japan, Australia and Chile, according to Wang Lumin, vice director of the Shanghai-based East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute.

The innovative technology will be displayed and discussed today at the pavilion's Aquaculture Copper Week, which started yesterday and ends on Saturday.

Copper's natural antimicrobial properties prevent biological fouling, or the unwanted growth of marine organisms on aquaculture enclosures. It helps create cleaner, healthier conditions for raising fish, according to Hal Stillman, technology director of the International Copper Association.

"Fishing nets are used to catch and kill fish, as the biological fouling will cover the surface of the nets, blocking water and air flow," Stillman said. "Using copper alloy meshes is a more responsible and sustainable farming practice."

He said copper alloy mesh technology helps farms prevent fish from being attacked by other aquatic creatures or escaping via holes in fishing nets. It also reduces the time needed for fish handling, net installation, cleaning and discharging.

Copper alloy mesh usually has an average life span of five years and the material is 100 percent recyclable.

Copper alloy mesh technology was invented in 1975 in the northeastern United States.


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