ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY OF AQUACULTURE FACILITIES
Aquaculture not only makes sense from an ecological point of view, but also offers a lucrative opportunity for sustainable financial investments: an investment in a recirculating aquaculture system can generate an attractive return that exceeds current standard investment opportunities. However, if you want to install such a system, you should first think carefully about the operating expenses and possible income. Ultimately, the marketing of the fish is essential for the profitability. We recommend direct sales for innovative, land-based fish farming systems such as our cube.
The above calculation is simplified for a system with a container and serves only as a guide. It does not claim to be complete for your own case. On request, we will be happy to prepare an individual profitability calculation including liquidity planning after a detailed discussion if there is a specific interest in buying.
Production volume vs. Sales volume
A cube produces 7,800 kg of raw fish annually. When gutting the fish, about 10% loss occurs through the entrails. This results in an annual sales amount of 6,630 kg of gutted fish per production plant.
The sustainable production of fresh sea fish on land is associated with certain costs due to the use of highly developed filter technology. For fish from recirculating aquaculture, we recommend direct marketing to the end consumer, gastronomy or delicatessen shops and premium providers in the food retail sector.
Basically, the sales prices are to be determined individually by the operator. Fish from the SEAWATER Cube can be sold fresh and is grown sustainably and under controlled conditions. It is therefore placed in the premium segment. Accordingly, you can orientate yourself on the prices for comparable quality (e.g. organic fish). Alternatively, prices for meat from regional sources can be used as a guide.
Specific prices per kg of sea bass can be found in our online shop.
Refinement & Shelf life
The refinement of the fish, the extension of shelf life as well as the further processing of the carcass can have a positive effect on profitability. From filleting to smoking or boiling, there are numerous tasty ways to expand and enhance your range.
We recommend a depreciation of the system over 10 years. There is currently no statutory indicator for recirculation systems, so sewage treatment plants can be used as a guide.
In addition to financing with your own equity, you can go to the bank. Once a house bank has been found to finance a project, there is a possibility that it will be refinanced by the Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank (in Germany). Then an interest rate of only 1–1.5% can be expected.
In addition, many guarantee banks have special programs for agricultural investments. Depending on the investment amount, a part of the deficiency guarantee is assumed by the guarantee bank.
Grants for investments in aquaculture are generally available through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The program will be relaunched in 2021 and implemented at the level of the federal states (in Germany). In the federal states, the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Consumer Protection is usually responsible. Depending on the country, the requirements for applicants and the possible funding rates lie between 20–50%.
A plant consumes 48,000 kWh of electricity per year. When calculating the operating costs, the electricity consumption in processing must also be added. This is individually dependent on the number of slaughter days and the machines and devices used.
The annual water consumption can be given as around 275 m³. It is made up of the 500 liters that are refilled in the system itself every day and the water that is used during slaughter and for cleaning.
To produce 7.8 t of fish, 22,280 seedlings are required annually. Depending on the type of fish, these can be obtained from us. The cost of a sea bass seedling is currently 0.60 €.
The facility consumes an average of 25 kg of feed per day. This results in a total annual requirement of around 9.3 t. Different feeds are used depending on the age group. The average price per kg is currently 1.55 €. The feed can also be obtained from us.
In order to provide the animals with an ideal habitat, a special mineral salt mixture is used within our systen. The plant is initially salted up once when it starts operation. Then around 5.5 t of salt are required annually. Salt currently costs € 0.40 per kg. We also offer an order service here.
The point of plant chemistry includes several items: In order to keep the biological filters running, the use of special substrates is necessary. In addition, chemical test kits are required that can be used to check the water values on a weekly basis. A special cleaner is also used to clean the processing quipment, which must be effective and food-safe at the same time.
For the disposing of the fish waste that remains after slaughtering, a special disposal company must be commissioned . Most providers process the leftovers into high-quality energy sources for biogas plants.
The workload in the plant itself is an average of 8 hours per week for the fattening of the animals. You need to add to this the working hours for processing and marketing. These times are individually dependent on the sales concept pursued (number of slaughter days, marketing channels, number of buyers, composition of buyers, etc.). For guidance, for an direct marketing concept you can plan around 40 working hours for processing and marketing with a high proportion of private customers. This results in a total of 48 working hours per system per week.
It is advisable to distribute the work between several people (e.g. 1 full-time employee, 1 temporary worker), as certain tasks are more efficient in pairs.
For outdoor installation, we offer our system in insulated reefer shipping containers. The plant brings its housing with it and can be set up almost anywhere.
with supply container
By operating several modules, it results a wider range of fish for the consumer as well synergies and potential savings in system operation.
For existing buildings that are to be given a new use and which permit the operation of salt water aquaculture, we also offer our system self-supporting without a container.
We also offer a container module for slaughtering and processing the fish, which meets all legal hygiene requirements.
Setting up direct marketing involves a certain amount of work and takes some time. Depending on the marketing investment, it can be expected that it will take about 6–12 months until demand has built up. But this work pays off definitely, because in direct contact with the consumer you not only find loyal regular customers, fans and advocates, but also receive a lot of positive feedback and suggestions for improving and further developing your business.
In response to multiple requests, we have now successfully built up a brand with SEAWATER Fish in our region and tested various sales concepts. Our long-term goal is to expand this across borders. In the future, we will establish a franchise system in order to offer Cube buyers marketing and sales support. Further information on this is available on request.