The turn of the 21st century coincided with a movement in the aquaculture industry towards a ‘Sustainable Aquaculture’ philosophy. Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the aquaculture industry were being developed and refined. By the 1990’s scientists were becoming all too aware of environmental impact the aquaculture industry imparted on coastal ecosystems. Fragile coastal areas were being eaten up by hectare after hectare of farm ponds while at the same time pond stocking densities were increasing resulting in a significant increase in the tonnage harvested. Unfortunately, along with this increased harvest came tonnes and tonnes of wastes, polluted waters, and increased disease vectors.
Coastal waters were receiving huge amounts of organic wastes and nutrients. These same waters were used to refill new ponds, and the cycles repeated. Eventually, a breaking point was reached in many heavily farmed areas. Ecosystems collapsed and diseases became rampant. White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) and other diseases decimated shrimp culturing efforts in countries like Ecuador and the Philippines making the impacts of higher-density farming not just an environmental concern, but a socioeconomic concern as well.
This is where United-Tech enters the story. In the late 1990s two of our BZT® products were used in a United-Nations funded study to determine ways to reduce the impact of the ever-expanding aquaculture impact on the environment. From this point forward we have remained intertwined in the development of safe, natural, and cost-effective processes to manage farms so they obtain higher yields yet have a lower impact on the environment. It was our opinion that BMPs should always consider the application of bioaugmentation and probiotic products. We never promoted our products as the panacea for all that ails the aquaculture industry but our mantra was that such products should always be considered one of the valuable farm management tools available.
For many years our stand was perhaps a bit against the grain and many ‘experts’ in the industry were preaching biotech products were of no effect and have no place in the industry. So much has changed in the past 15-20 years. The use of biologically-based probiotic, prebiotic, and bioaugmentation products are becoming main-stream. BMPs themselves have evolved over this timeframe moving their focus from solely on environment impact to more towards the sustainable aquaculture philosophy, equally stressing benefits to the farmer and the environment. An article in the December 2013 issue of World Aquaculture authored by Claude E. Boyd, Julio Queiroz, and Aaron McNevin addressed this issue. In this article Perspectives on the Responsible Aquaculture Movement the authors identify eleven farm ‘issues’. For each, they offer Best Available Practice (BAP) categories that address the issue and then offer potential benefits for both the producer and the environment if such BMPs are adopted.
So when considering Responsible Aquaculture practices, remember that BMPs are achieved using the appropriate BAPs which of course would include BZT®.
Too many B’s? You only need to remember one – BZT®