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Aquaculture Structures



Course format On-site
Date 2021-01-11 - 2021-05-07

Aquaculture structures are significantly different from most other floating ocean structures. First of all, they are designed for the purpose of farming one or several species, making the requirement for species welfare and growth the main design criteria. Aquaculture structures have usually a high degree of flexibility and significant hydroelastic behavior, and the use of nets as a large part of the structure is common. They are mainly positioned in the coastal zone where wave and current exposure are different from the open ocean.

This course aims to give the students an understanding of the behavior of floating aquaculture structures, mainly from a hydrodynamic and structural mechanics perspective. The course will also have a focus the biological premises necessary for an aquaculture structure to be sustainable.

The course is divided into four parts:
Part 1. Introduction: Rules and regulations
Part 2. Aquaculture sites: Description of waves and current
Part 3. Aquaculture structures: Structural and hydrodynamic characteristics.
Part 4. Aquaculture operations and fish welfare: Farming intelligence, HSE and cage environment.

Learning outcomes

This course aims to give the students an understanding of the behavior of floating aquaculture structures including the necessary biological premises for the design and operations of the structures. This understanding should make the students capable of critical evaluate and assess the design, management, deployment and operations of these structures.

Specific learning outcome:

After completing Part 1. Introduction the students should be able to:

  • Explain and discuss the motivation for aquaculture as a method for food production.
  • Discuss the Norwegian aquaculture industry seen in a global aquaculture perspective.
  • Give an overview of the contemporary problems and challenges of the Norwegian aquaculture industry.
  • Give an overview of the main regulations and standards regarding aquaculture structures used in Norway.

After completing Part 2. Aquaculture sites the students should be able to:

  • Give an overview of how the Norwegian aquaculture sites are distributed along the coastline of Norway, including site capacity, ownership and wave exposure.
  • Explain and discuss how the Norwegian aquaculture industry is conducting site assessment.
  • Explain important parameters used to assess the quality of a site.
  • Use the fetch method to estimate wind wave exposure at a site.
  • Describe the different components in ocean and coastal current and explain their driving forces.
  • Perform a harmonic analysis of a current measurement.
  • Explain the difference between the tidal component and the residual component in a current.

After completing Part 3. Aquaculture structures the students should be able to:

  • Give an overall description of the dynamic behavior of net based aquaculture structures.
  • Estimate drag forces on a cage in uniform current and critically assess the accuracy of the estimate.
  • Discuss how design choices (geometry, solidity, weights) affects the cage deformation and drag force in uniform current.
  • Explain how biofouling affects the behavior of individual cages and whole farms.
  • Describe the differences between a net based cage and a closed or semi closed cage.
  • Explain the influence of sloshing in a closed cage.
  • Discuss the seaworthiness of closed cages relative to net based cages.
  • Describe the life cycle of a net cage and explain what affects the strength of a flexible net structure.
  • Describe the different mooring setups and their properties used for aquaculture structures.
  • Calculate the mooring characteristics of a catenary mooring system with multiple lines.
  • Give an overview of relevant numerical tools for simulation of aquaculture structures and explain the models they are based on.

After completing Part 4. Aquaculture operations and fish welfare the students should be able to:

  • Describe the most important operations performed at a fish farm.
  • Describe feeding methods and strategies.
  • Explain and discuss what is meant by farming intelligence and precision fish farming.
  • Give an overview of the occupational risks and hazards employees in the aquaculture industry is exposed to.
  • Describe how safety management can be implemented and executed.
  • Explain which parameters are used to measure/describe the cage environment.
  • Explain how the cage environment effects the fish welfare.
  • Discuss how the site, the structure and the operations affect the cage environment and the fish welfare.


ISCED Categories

Near- and offshore constructions