Open-ocean, warm-water fish farming could potentially provide a future food source in countries struggling with famine or drought. At the Aquaculture America 2012 conference, NET Systems Inc., Bainbridge Isle, Wash., introduced a product that increases the likelihood that such efforts will succeed. The PREDATOR-X net, a hybrid of Dyneema® high-strength polyethylene fibers and stainless steel wire, resists tearing, cutting and penetration by sharks, one of the major threats to open-ocean aquaculture.
The PREDATOR-X was developed by NET Systems and DSM Dyneema, Stanley, N.C., using the Ultra Cross netting platform: an advanced, four-strand, braided, continuous-filament, knotless netting technique used in products for heavy-duty commercial fishing. It was field tested by the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) aquaculture cage in the Bahamas, where a full-scale farm of cobia stock is underway. The PREDATOR-X net is thinner than other anti-predator systems; increases water flow and oxygen into farming cages; reduces drag; and lowers need for maintenance, increased insurance premiums and required inspection dives. Other predators that could be thwarted by the PREDATOR-X net include crocodiles, seals, sea lions and piranhas.