Today, the ASPIRED Project team held the online presentation of the Aquaculture Technologies Transfer Center with participation of the USAID, Government, project partners and fish-farming sector representatives.
In his welcoming remarks, the USAID’s Economic Growth Office Director, James Borger, emphasized the partnership between the USAID and the Government of Armenia in the water sector. He noted that USAID encourages use of innovative technologies and methods that will help curb groundwater extraction in the Ararat Valley.
Established in cooperation with the private fishery Armavir Farmer in Metsamor, the ATTC Project serves as an experimental base for testing and validating different aquaculture technologies on a single site. During the online presentation, the local aquaculture expert, Karen Aghababyan, introduced the ATTC project’s technical solutions and methods to the participants of the zoom conference. The international aquaculture expert David Stephen presented international best practice in aquaculture in the context of the ATTC Project.
The technologies and methods used at the ATTC include water recirculation combined with passive settling for removing solid organic particles from water, airlifting for enriching water with oxygen, use of bio- and phyto-filtration systems. The outlet water will be used for crayfish farming, after which the wastewater will undergo biological treatment in a reed-bed (wetland) facility before being discharged into the drainage system. This will help to minimize the possible negative impact on the environment. The system will recirculate about 70% of water, and only 30% of inlet water will be taken from the well. The Project will help to save 2.5 mln m3 of water and generate energy savings equivalent to 63 MWh per year.
Once proven successful, these technologies and best practices can be replicated by other fish-farm owners of the region. An individual entrepreneur from Masis region, Artem Torosyan, has already built a recirculation system in his fishery. He applied both airlift pumps and sludge removal system, having adapted the ATTC solutions to his conditions. The fishery produces about 80 tons of fish and by the feedback of Artem Torosyan, the airlift pumps ensure the efficiency of fish production and good quality of fish produce.
Fish-farming industry is one of the largest consumers of the groundwater resources of the Ararat Valley, accounting for some 50% of the water use. The representative of the Ministry of Economy, Tigran Aleksanyan, acknowledged the efforts of the USAID and ASPIRED Project, aimed at increasing the efficiency of the fish-farming sector through innovations and water-saving solutions, including use of the outlet water from fish-farms for irrigation. Based on the recent data of the Armenian Ministry of Economy, the local aquaculture sector output ranges between 17,000-18,000 tons of fish per year, producing mostly trout and sturgeon. About 20-30% of this fish produce is exported to Russia, Georgia, USA, UAE, Ukraine and other countries. Application of water saving technologies for aquaculture production will help to minimize costs and achieve a more rational use of the groundwater resources by the fish-farmers.