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 Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms 
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Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:55 pm
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Location: Stirling, Scotland
Post Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Hello,
I am new to the forum. I have read this thread with interest. I am planning to use BSFL in a scientific trial in Scotland for the disposal of routine mortality from salmon farms. First a little bit of background.

There are many salmon farms on the west coast of Scotland, Western Isles and Shetlands with a collective national production of approx. 150,000 tonnes per annum. Salmon farms experience a routine mortality from a number of reasons such as from sea lice, predators, jellyfish etc, amounting to perhaps up to 5% of the biomass. A typical large salmon farm may produce 3000 tonnes in a 2 year cycle, so this is around 150 tonnes of dead fish which need to be disposed of, although there will not be a consistent supply, but in pulses during certain parts of the growing cycle. The European animal by-product regulations state that fallen stock cannot re-enter the human food chain as livestock feed and the remoteness of some of the sites means that collecting them into a volume of economic importance is logistically quite difficult. In the past the majority were sent to landfill but with rising taxes on landfill, became very expensive. Presently the usual route is on-site incineration which is still costly and still represents a loss of valuable nutrients.

The plan is to set up a trial feeding the "morts" to BSFL and then collect the larvae for sale to exotic pet suppliers. I have a major salmon producer, The Soil Association (organic food producers' association and certifier) and an exotic pet food supplier involved already and we are just about ready to go. I plan to have a few biopods and a separate breeding area on a few sites. I have a few concerns about the trial although a lot of the posts here have at least partially addressed these.

It's pretty cold and especially dark at certain parts of the year, although the North Atlantic Drift (Gulf Stream) keeps it a bit warmer on the West Coast than central Europe may get. Shetland probably only has about 5 to 6 hours of daylight in mid-winter. A set up similar to that of Earthtiger (link) seems the right way to go for the breeding area, put in one of the farm buildings. The biopods will be outside and we will do our best to insulate them as suggested in some posts. My concerns are:

1) this will be on fish-farms where their main concern is raising fish so they cannot afford to spend any more time on this than they already do with their current mortality disposal routine
2) what is the minimum temperature that the breeding area needs to be kept at to keep the flies/larvae healthy? (I know that a suitable light can raise the temperature for actual breeding)
3) I have seen that the larvae self harvest, but will they do so in cold temperatures, into a bucket that may get quite cold- would they survive?
4) there needs to be an easy way to transfer the new larvae/eggs to the biopods and maintain the system in regards to 1) above

The first thing I will do is try to get the breeding area working at my university before transferring them to fish-farms and setting up biopods. I would be grateful for any advice that you all have from your various experiences. I will continue to post the findings of the trial up here for everyone's interest.

Many thanks!


Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:01 pm
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Post Re: Small Scale Indoor Breeding
StVitus wrote:
Hello,
I am new to the forum.
Welcome SV

Quote:
2) what is the minimum temperature that the breeding area needs to be kept at to keep the flies/larvae healthy? (I know that a suitable light can raise the temperature for actual breeding)
3) I have seen that the larvae self harvest, but will they do so in cold temperatures, into a bucket that may get quite cold- would they survive?
My indoor setup is at about 25°C and I would consider that towards the bottom of what's acceptable both for the breeding area and the BioPod.

I'm going to move your post to it's own thread as it's an interesting project that will probably go beyond 'small scale'.

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Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:15 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Many thanks,
I am glad you find it interesting.

The temperature of the breeding area is unlikely to be maintained above 25 degrees unless the lights are on 24 hours. Would it be ok to allow the temperature to fall below 20 at some points but then to raise it to around 30 for a few hours to allow for breeding? Surely in their natural environment they must experience night temperatures of below 20?


Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:24 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Hi StVitus, welcome!

As much as I like working with black soldier fly larvae, I must suggest that you look into using another fly species. When I read your post I remembered a show based on a farm in a cold climate that uses salmon scraps to raise blue bottle fly larvae for fishing bait. It's my understanding that maggots are a popular fishing bait in the UK, suggesting a possible market in addition to animal feed. Here are a few links:

http://www.ruralnorthwest.com/artman/publish/article_8723.shtml

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/dirty-jobs/videos/meet-the-maggot-farmers.htm


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Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:33 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Hi Jerry,
thanks for this.

I did think of blue bottle maggots although they have a few disadvantages, real and perceived. Firstly they are a pest species and fish-farms would be reluctant to have them on site in large numbers. You are right that the UK uses maggots as a fishing bait and they are popular, especially in the south. There is a possible biosecurity risk with this, if the salmon died of a disease this could be transferred to other water bodies. although this risk is small, it may pose problems for the regulatory bodies.

The BSFL is attractive to us, because it is not a pest species. If the hurdles I have outlined above can be overcome, its self harvesting nature, its voracious appetite and the good market for them makes it very attractive indeed. I am up for the challenge!

I have about 4 months before the weather starts getting really bad in which to solve those problems, with all your great experience, help and advice!

Many thanks.


Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StVitus wrote:
My concerns are:

1) this will be on fish-farms where their main concern is raising fish so they cannot afford to spend any more time on this than they already do with their current mortality disposal routine
Can you elaborate a bit more? Are you planning on delivering them a turn-key working system or just the components to make one?

Quote:
4) there needs to be an easy way to transfer the new larvae/eggs to the biopods and maintain the system in regards to 1) above
One possible method would be to have one or more 'BioPods' in the breeding area where the flies could lay their eggs and the larvae hatch out. The juvenile larvae could be selectively harvested (link) and transferred to the other 'BioPods' .

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Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:36 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Quote:
Can you elaborate a bit more? Are you planning on delivering them a turn-key working system or just the components to make one?


Myself and a couple of others will work closely with the salmon company to develop a working system which they can then replicate on their other farms. We don't plan on redesigning the biopods or a breeding enclosure although some adaptions may be required.

When I talk about the time, I mean their daily activities in collecting the morts and then disposing of them, not the development time of the project. We plan to post the collected larvae to the exotic pet food retailer.

Quote:
One possible method would be to have one or more 'BioPods' in the breeding area where the flies could lay their eggs and the larvae hatch out. The juvenile larvae could be selectively harvested (link) and transferred to the other 'BioPods' .


Thanks Boreal. This looks great. There certainly is no shortage of fish food! One hurdle solved in a few minutes. I feel pretty positive about this. I will see if I can start ordering the materials I need on Monday to start breeding them.

Thanks again.


Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:53 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StVitus wrote:
Myself and a couple of others will work closely with the salmon company to develop a working system which they can then replicate on their other farms. We don't plan on redesigning the biopods or a breeding enclosure although some adaptions may be required.

When I talk about the time, I mean their daily activities in collecting the morts and then disposing of them, not the development time of the project.
Thanks for the clarification. When you say BioPod I hope you're using that in the generic sense as there are some great DIY designs.

If you've been reading the forums you probably found references to 'colony collapse'. The cause of these hasn't been fully determined but they only seem to happen in large colonies/large bins. You might want to go the route of more smaller units so you don't have "all your eggs in the same basket' so to speak.

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Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:07 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Quote:
If you've been reading the forums you probably found references to 'colony collapse'. The cause of these hasn't been fully determined but they only seem to happen in large colonies/large bins. You might want to go the route of more smaller units so you don't have "all your eggs in the same basket' so to speak.


Yes, good advice. It will also allow us to manage the waste better which may not be in consistent amounts.

I don't know whether we will do our own DIY efforts or try to source some of the ready made ones. We will cross that bridge when we get to it. I don't think that they're available in the EU. I know they are in the US and Vietnam. I actually met with Paul Olivier in Da Lat last year when I started talking about this project. My colleague is going to Saigon this month for a conference and may try to meet with him when he goes.


Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:42 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Quote:
The European animal by-product regulations state that fallen stock cannot re-enter the human food chain as livestock feed
Not strictly related to your project but does this also mean that BSFL fed 'morts' can't be fed to anything destined to be consumed by people (fish, chickens, swine, etc)?

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Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:56 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Mmmm.....
A difficult one. We are erring on the side of caution and saying not at this time. There is room to approach the EU via the European Food Safety Authority to propose changes or derogations on the regulations. Right now we are happy that there is enough of a market to absorb what we would produce for the exotic pet trade. Some colleagues are also involved in a project to use BSFL to produce animal feed proteins but this will not be using salmon morts as a feed stock. What they are using, I am not sure. I doubt it is fallen stock, but probably the by-products from animal processing industries, which can enter the human food chain as long as the by-product originates from animals which were intended for humans. Bit complicated, I know. I have the full regulations if you want them. In the true traditions of EUropean bureaucracy, it is not a fascinating read.


Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:36 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StVitus wrote:
... Bit complicated, I know. I have the full regulations if you want them. In the true traditions of EUropean bureaucracy, it is not a fascinating read.
Thanks but I'll pass :ugeek:

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Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:49 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
StVitus,

This is a great initiative, congratulations to you and your partners in Scotland.

I understand BSLF can eat pretty much any organic matter, they do prefer vegetable matter though. I read somewhere that one should limit animal matter to 5-10%.
From personal experience, I've seen eat the veg then move to the meats.

I suggest you start very small and test if you will be able to raise them on salmon only.


Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:13 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Dear Solarves,
thanks for your support and advice.

We will also expect the farmers to put in their kitchen waste as well, but this will be small compared to the morts, I expect. We will probably try to have 3 separate sites starting quite small as you suggest.

I am going to try to start the breeding experiments this week if I can find a suitable space in the university grounds and get all of the kit together.


Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:21 pm
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Hello all,
sorry for long gap. There has been quite a lot of bureaucracy and a few logistical problems involved in getting this going but I now have a small breeding set up rigged up a long the lines of Earthtiger's. I bought some immature larvae from the pet shop which seem to be growing nicely. I hope to have some adults soon. I have a timeline to get some sort of biopod installed in a salmon farm some time around the beginning of November. I foresee some insulation problems in the future as the winter sets in but otherwise, I think everything is looking good.

I'll take some photos and post soon.

All the best.

StV


Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:52 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Thank you very much for sharing your project with our forum StVitus.

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Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:57 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Good to hear there's some progress. Thanks for keeping us posted.


Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:06 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Here is my breeding set up. No adults yet but 1 or 2 look like they're beginning to pupate. Light is CDMT 35W cool white. The bulb was easy to get but the ballast to run it wasn't.


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BSFL_breeding box2.jpg
BSFL_breeding box2.jpg [ 230.17 KiB | Viewed 18589 times ]
Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:27 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Thanks for photos, they're very helpful in sharing your project.

If you can place the ramp tightly against a wall it will dramatically improve the harvest. The larvae tend to circle the unit along the wall, and if the ramp is in their path they climb it.

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Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:33 am
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Post Re: Scientific Trial in Scotland @ Salmon Farms
Is there anything keeping the flies from touching the light bulb?
They will be attracted by the light and an incandescent bulb will cook them.


Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:37 am
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