To choose a good site is of course of major importance for future production results and possible problems, so proper investigations about site performance must be carried out. In relation to planning this description will give the criteria for the further planning process. If several sites could be used, the description will give the necessary basis for evaluation and selection of the site.
The site chosen will, of course, depend on the type of farm that is being planned – a hatchery or on-growing, land- or sea-based. An extremely important selection criterion when talking about aquaculture facilities is, of course, the amount and quality of available water. There are many stories of land-based freshwater aquaculture facilities suffering from lack of water after some years in production.
For cage farming, the water quality and current are of great interest. The depth and bottom conditions are also important because of the mooring requirements. For land-based farms the water quality will also be of major importance, but here the amount of water available is also of great interest. It is important to remember that when a farm is planned it is designed for a given water flow. In almost every case, after a period in production there will be a desire to increase production and therefore the need for water will increase. It is therefore advantageous to include this possibility in the planning process. When checking the possible amounts of water that could be withdrawn from the water source and used in the farm, it is important to find values for the possible water supply for every month all year round. A monitoring programme before establishing a farm must be implemented and surprises resulting from dry seasons must be avoided. Therefore it is important to look up as much historical data as possible regarding the water source. Possibilities for regulation of the water level in lakes, or damming up rivers must also be evaluated.
Good water quality will always be the best, regardless of species farmed. Some species, such as carps, will not have such high requirements for the water quality, while others such as salmonids are more stringent. Water of poor quality can be used on a salmonid farm but requires additional treatment before use, so resulting in increased costs.
Available infrastructure is also important when selecting a site. To have easy access to electricity, good roads and telephone lines reduces the costs of establishing the farm.
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