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Site Selection, Acquisition, and Planning for Aquaculture in Dredged Material Containment Areas
ARMY ENGINEER WATERWAYS EXPERIMENT STATION VICKSBURG MS ENVIRONMENTAL LAB
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High land and construction costs hinder development of pond-based aquaculture in the United States. A partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE may reduce these constraints. The dredged material containment areas DMCA operated by the Corps are structurally similar to aquaculture ponds and typically are used by the USACE only once every 3 to 10 years. With the Corps and navigational interests contributing to dike construction and land acquisition, the costs of aquaculture may be reduced while providing the Corps with the additional disposal areas needed to maintain our nations waterways. The Containment Area Aquaculture Program was established to investigate the feasibility of DMCA aquaculture from biological, economic, engineering, and legal perspectives. The technical feasibility of DMCA aquaculture was demonstrated in 42- and 47-ha DMCAs near Brownsville, TX. Pumps, filters, and drainage structures were added to these DMCAs to accommodate aquaculture operations and a 1.6-ha nursery pond was constructed. During a 3-year period, four crops of penaeid shrimp were raised. Production rates averaged 670 kgha of whole shrimp range 338 to 1,143 kgha with 51 percent survival range 23 to 74 percent. Total production for the four crops was 116,088 kg of whole shrimp 71,878 kg tails which was sold for over 475,000. This report gives a general overview of site selection considerations when colocating a DMCA and an aquaculture facility. Checklists are given to provide aquaculturists, USACE personnel, regulatory agencies, and others with a summary and quick reference to important factors in choosing a site. Site selection is the most important decision made in any large-scale pond aquaculture operation, regardless of whether the operation will be in a DMCA.
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