Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) operate by filtering water from the fish tanks so it can be reused within the tank. This dramatically reduces the amount of water and space required to intensively produce seafood products. The steps in RAS include solids removal, ammonia removal, Co2 removal and oxygenation.
Blue Ridge Aquaculture (BRA) utilizes eco-friendly indoor recirculating aquaculture facilities. The company’s filtration systems operate continuously, keeping the water clean and providing a healthy environment for the fish. These recirculating systems allow BRA to recycle the water back to the tanks, unlike outdoor pond operations, which are criticized by environmentalists' because of their excessive water use and the pollution risks associated with the untreated water.
Recirculating aquaculture is emerging at a good time to meet market demands for seafood and to serve the changing needs of land-based farming operations. The world's ever-increasing seafood demands are depleting the oceans' resources. Large-scale recirculating aquaculture facilities such as Blue Ridge Aquaculture offer viable solutions to this problem. BRA’s Martinsville’s facility, using only 2.4 acres under 1 roof, doubled the freshwater fish production for Virginia in 2000 and made the company the largest tilapia producer (marine or otherwise) in the United States.