Marine Agriculture in Greenhouses

Technology HighlightsNov 18, 2011

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Eran Luckatch – International Sales Manager.

Since its early days, Azrom has been known as a pioneer in its field. The company has never feared the challenges of innovation and has dared to go beyond modern technological boundaries.

One of Azrom’s most recent challenges, which the company has chosen to become actively involved in, is the field of intensive marine agriculture for growing crops in greenhouses.

Marine agriculture is a new field that focuses on the use of areas flooded with water for growing wildlife. There are currently 2,600 marine farms around the world, while the vast majority of them are located in enclosed and storm protected inlets. Global ecological regulations are now working towards the transfer of fish farms to the open sea, or alternatively, to sites on land – due to the ecological damage to these inlets.

Israel, as a country lacking abundant fresh water sources, was one of the first in this part of the world to make use of seawater for the rearing of fish and other marine species having a high economic value. Marine agriculture had its beginnings in Israel already during the period of the early Jewish settlement in the 1920’s. It soon developed into a nationwide industry of fish production in pools, tanks and under covered structures. In the early 1970’s, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute established the NCM (National Center for Mariculture). The main research effort at NCM currently focuses on developing an environmentally friendly, land-based system for rearing fish in seawater pools. In addition, the center also has seawater pools for algae, clams, oysters, mussels, crabs, sea urchins and seaweed.

In support of this new and developing field of agriculture, one of Azrom’s objectives has been to accompany the local research institutes and commercial farms that focus on marine agriculture. As a company with a worldwide reputation for agricultural projects, requests for Azrom greenhouses intended for marine agriculture continue to arrive from countries around the world.

Azrom’s engineering department, together with R&D personnel, has been working on the development of unique products for these farms. The objective is to offer a full response to all of their needs, while each farm is compelled to deal with its own unique challenges.

In many cases, due to the proximity to the sea, high humidity and saline levels, wind gusts and sandy grounds, Azrom has had to manufacture structures that are totally different from the greenhouses intended for standard agricultural production. The demands placed on the engineering department were directed towards structures with wider spans, highly durable against corrosion and able to withstand difficult weather conditions. The greenhouses had to be designed at a high level of engineering in order offer creative solutions to the needs and requirements of each individual farm.

In accordance with these demands, structures with larger spans were designed. They were coated with a higher level of galvanized zinc, were able to bear heavier, hanging loads and could withstand the burdens of and more massive supporting systems.

Last year a project for rearing fish was constructed in South Africa, along the Atlantic seacoast. Defined as a pilot project, it has been designed to produce 300 tons of fish per year during the initial stage, while future plans call for ten times the output.

The project was constructed at the highest standards and throughout the entire process Azrom competed against the world’s leading companies in the field. Azrom met all of the criteria and was chosen to construct the project, which included different types of greenhouses, laboratories and the like.

At first glance, marine agriculture and Azrom’s traditional field of operations do not seem to go together. However, this is proof of the passion, the innovation and the rich technological courage embedded within the company to deal with developing fields, to get involved in them from the initial stages and to face any challenge.

This is Azrom’s approach and vision – to actively accompany the client and to take an active part in ensuring the success of the project.

Azrom is currently one of the world’s leading companies for the production of greenhouses.

Every project, anywhere in the world, receives the proper, individual consideration, combining: local characteristics, design and planning, agronomic consultation, examination of growing conditions, construction and the planning of supplementary units and systems, including electricity, water, heating, trellising, climate control and fertilization. Only an overall, comprehensive solution, be it simple or complex, is the perfect response.

The company’s quality control policy focuses on the supply of qualitative products for long term client use under difficult and challenging field conditions.

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