The Snapperfarm Project

From its inception in 1998, the Snapperfarm project in Puerto Rico, in collaboration with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, has focused on refining their offshore, open-ocean sustainable fisheries technology, specifically in regards to Culebran Cobia (Rachycentron canadum). Comparatively, between Cobia and Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus), the first species to be raised at the farm, Cobia has proven a much more viable source for advancements in aquaculture.

The program has experimented with several types of broodstock cages, finally settling on SeaStation and Aquapod offshore submersible models with a capacity of 3,000 cubic meters. Deep-water submersibles are located several miles offshore in strong currents, allowing for both the safe removal and dispersal of Snapperfarm waste products away from sensitive coral reefs, mangroves and coastal ecosystems, and for a clean, pollutant free environment, ideal for fish maturation.

The Aquaculture program at the University of Miami was asked to serve as both consult to the research and development of Snapperfarm’s Cobia project, and as a basis to introduce future aquaculture scientists and engineers to current advances in aquaculture and sustainable seafood practices. The collaborative project looks to go beyond standard practices, by avoiding undue environmental stressors into the areas surroundings aquaculture tanks.

Dr. Daniel Benetti is technical director and lead scientist for the sustainable project. His efforts have provided students and trainees from different countries with unique opportunities to do research and work in the hatchery and grow out operations. This experience gave them first-hand experience in aquaculture production at all stages of development and allowed them to assess potential problems that may occur and learn to take all environmental measures into consideration.