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Dynamic emergy evaluation of a fish farm rearing process

Vassallo, P., Beiso, I., Bastianoni, S., Fabiano, M.
Journal of environmental management 2009 v.90 no.8 pp. 2699-2708
fish farms, fish culture, sustainable development, dynamic models, Sparus aurata, bream, marine fish, energy resources, systems analysis, models
The environmental sustainability of a fish farm rearing process was examined by means of emergy analysis. Many emergy analyses integrate data for a whole year smoothing short term variations and sometimes losing meaningful information (aliasing). For this reason we developed a model for an instantaneous emergy evaluation in an aquacultural system so that transformities, efficiency and effort spent at each moment during the fish rearing activity could be calculated. By means of the model and dynamic emergy calculations it is possible to recognize step by step the importance of the various emergy contributions and verify where and when to modify the system to move toward optimum production of a sustainable product. By the application of the model we confirmed that the emergy trends in a fish farm installation follow wide oscillations during a year due to variations in both internal and external emergy contributions. Among the fluxes considered, those due to the introduction of fingerlings represented the highest contributions to the total emergy budget. Thus, to improve the sustainability of the analyzed system the amount, frequency and timing of these fluxes must be carefully considered. For this purpose, a comparison between two different fry introduction schedules was performed to evaluate differences in the efficiency of the rearing process.