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Raft damage from raft aging and adverse weather conditions is a continuing challenge to B.C. shellfish farmers; in 2006 alone, 100 rafts were lost due to weather events, resulting in Styrofoam debris and significant costs to farmers. To address these issues, the Centre for Shellfish Research developed open-source raft designs that will significantly improve raft durability, production capacity, and industry environmental stewardship. Computer simulations were used to determine the optimal materials, dimensions and configuration for B.C. farming conditions. Two prototypes were subsequently constructed and tested to identify possible improvements. The designs incorporate non-biodegradable galvanized steel and rotomolded floats and isolate structurally integral components from other parts, which will lead to an anticipated tripling of raft longevity. Increased raft size will also increase production capacity. Additionally, few custom parts, compatibility with existing mooring techniques, and use of affordable materials facilitate industry adoption of the technology. The new rafts could remove an anticipated 22,000 cubic feet of Styrofoam at risk of loss from the marine environment each year. In addition, the Denman Island Marine Stewardship Committee recently commended VIU for the rafts’ ability to substantially reduce the amount of raft debris that is washed ashore. These new rafts are examples of technology development excellence in shellfish farming that will contribute to a more productive, sustainable, and environmentally responsible industry.
Project Lead: Vancouver Island University Centre for Shellfish Research
Total Project Cost: $198,670
Amount Funded by DFO-AIMAP: $120,000
Other Financial Support:
For more information, please contact the regional coordinator:
Pacific Region Officer, Sean.Irvine@dfo-mpo.gc.ca