Aquaculture breakthrough: Floating islands provide fish spawning habitat

27 October 2011

Proof of concept! (Source: FII Montana)

Floating Island International, represented in South Africa by DH Environmental, has recently made breakthroughs in the innovative use of BioHaven floating islands to create fish spawning habitat for various species of fish.  The floating artificial stream and the suspended spawning platform are two such examples.

Spawning platform for bass being towed into position. (Source: FII Montana)

The results of the research are to be presented next week at the annual meeting of the North American Lake Management Society.  An summary of the research findings are provided below:

Floating trout stream. (Source: FII Montana)


Four floating islands were evaluated recently for enhancing fish spawning habitat in Montana and New Mexico.  In the most recent project, at Floating Island International’s research lake near Shepherd, Montana, Yellowstone cutthroat trout eggs were introduced to a floating treatment streambed in April 2011; the eggs have hatched and the trout fry appear to be thriving.  This is significant because Montana officials have made two unsuccessful attempts to sustain cutthroat populations in a nearby stretch of the Yellowstone River.  This project demonstrates the potential ability to develop self-sustaining salmonid populations in land-locked waterways.  In the second project, a subgroup of the New Mexico Bass Fishing Association undertook a project in 2009 to increase the bass population in Elephant Butte Lake.  A floating island was of particular interest because lakes in this area are used for irrigation, with bass often losing their land-based spawning grounds when lake levels drop.  The youth group partnered with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, marina owners and other local interested parties by working with Floating Islands West (FIW), which has developed floating botanical gardens to increase fish and other wildlife habitat, along with improving water quality.  FIW designed a portable spawning bed for fish that includes a cover and protection for the fry.  The other locations where floating islands were deployed for spawning habitat are Lake Elmo in Billings, Montana and Tingley Lake in Roswell, New Mexico (Authors: Kania, Flock and Reinsel).

Platform anchored in position. (Source: FII Montana)

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