Prevent Escape – research to improve technology and strategies to prevent and mitigate escapes from aquaculture
Solving technical and operational problems related to escapes is dependent on a combination of research into several technological disciplines and biological knowledge related to the behaviour of fish in sea-cages.
By conducting research focussed on sea-cages and their immediate surrounds, we will assess the detailed technical and operational causes of escape incidents, assess the extent of escapes of reproductive gametes, juveniles and large fish from sea-cages, determine the inherent biological mechanisms that pre-dispose certain species of fish towards behaviours within sea-cages that make escapes more likely, and document the dispersal of escapees to better understand how they may be recaptured. Finally, research on aquaculture structures, materials, designs and operational methods to prevent escapes and recapture technologies to mitigate the effects of escapes when they occur will be carried out.
Information from these components of the project will feed into research specifically aimed at benchmarking the performance of equipment under farming conditions and thereby improve national and international standards for the design, construction and use of aquaculture equipment. These key pieces of information, when added to existing knowledge, will allow determination of practical, implementable measures to prevent escapes and mitigate the effects of escapees.
If prevention and mitigation are more successful, genetic and ecological impacts should diminish.