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Conversion of Aquaculture Waste to Saleable Compost



The need for alternative end-uses of aquaculture by-products has long been identified by fish farmers and processors in the industry. Disposal of mortalities and processing plant waste represents a significant cost to industry, as well as placing a significant burden on land fill sites. In 2004, the nine rainbow trout cage farms represented by the Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association produced 3,900 tonnes of trout (K. Tracey, NOAA, pers. comm.). As roughly half of this amount becomes waste after filleting, and some small percentage of on-farm mortality is inevitable, an estimated 2,000 tonnes per year of trout is trucked to land fills. To address the negative economic and environmental aspects of aquaculture waste disposal, use of this waste in a composting venture, in combination with waste products from local sawmill operations, is proposed. Composting of fish and wood wastes to produce useful product for land application is not a new concept, although most composting operations use outdoor methods (windrows). Outdoor methods, however, are not suited to year-round production in a Canadian climate. The purpose of this project is to adapt the use of a cement truck for mixing the ingredients, and an indoor facility for compost production, such that farm and processing plant wastes may be converted to compost as they become available. The Project Manager has already performed initial tests of a production system, using the cement mixer alone to produce compost, but the fuel costs are too high (over three days per batch, mixer continuously running) to be economically viable. This project seeks to establish a lower-cost, year-round, economically viable indoor production system. Local demand for the product is already becoming established.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2006 - 2008


Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin

Principal Investigator(s)

Doug Geiling

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