AFI-31806 Aquaculture Production Systems


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)ing. EH Eding
MSc EWM Nijkamp-Schaars MSc
Lecturer(s)F Kokou
ing. EH Eding
dr. MCJ Verdegem
Examiner(s)ing. EH Eding
dr. MCJ Verdegem

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

AFI-20306 Aquaculture and Fisheries; AFI-31306 Life History of Aquatic Organisms.


This course deals with the relation between aquatic organisms (algae, fish, crustaceans, molluscs) and their environment, the latter comprising the direct production space and the wider environment in which farms operate. The main aspects of aquaculture systems (extensive and intensive) are addressed considering effluents, water quality management, husbandry (e.g. stocking density, feeding strategies) and overall farm design. A lot of attention is given to biological water quality control though photo- and heterotrophic processes in natural waters or in purpose-build reactors. The focus is on how farm system components and management options determine farming success and sustainability. During the course, the students build and operate recirculating aquaculture production systems, relying on different types of bioreactors. The contribution of each bioreactor to the nutrient balance in systems is analysed, and compared with other bioreactors. This knowledge is applied in the design of a fish farm, including effluent control and management, and dealing with both intensive and extensive types of farming.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- integrate insights in biological, physical and chemical processes occurring in water into the design of sustainable aquaculture production units, while considering input needs and environmental impacts

- apply and control the main biological processes affecting water quality in aquatic ecosystems

- calculate the carrying capacity for any type of aquaculture production unit, considering productivity, animal health and wellbeing, and optimize the management of the unit accordingly

- design and operate outdoor and indoor recirculating aquaculture systems

- make nutrient mass balances of aquaculture production systems, and integrate them with other aquatic or terrestrial farming activities as part of integrated farming systems

- apply the principles governing management of aquaculture production systems to the maintenance, design or restoration of natural or man-made aquatic ecosystems


- Lectures

- Practical exercises (with recirculation systems containing fish)

- Tutorials (to calculate designs of production systems)


- written test with 10 open questions (85%)
- individual assignment reports or oral presentations during practicals (15%)

A minimum mark of 5.5 is required for each component.
In order to pass this course, it is mandatory to attain all practicals and tutorials.


Brightspace, including a course guide and reading materials. 

Compulsory for: MAMAquaculture and Marine Resource ManagementMScA: Spec. A - Aquaculture2MO
Restricted Optional for: MBTBiotechnologyMScE: Spec. E - Environmental and Biobased Biotechnology2MO
MASAnimal SciencesMScB: Spec. B - Nutrition and Metabolism2MO
MASAnimal SciencesMScC: Spec. C - Global and Sustainable Production2MO