Sustainable Aquaponics

By: Tawnya Sawyer

Concerned about the planet?

 

Just-Food-book-cover

“Given the ecological and economic viability of aquaponics, food would be significantly more just if this unique form of aquaculture (aquaponics) became the future of floating protein”.  – Just Food,  by James E. McWilliams

 

 

Of all the current threats to the planet, there are three in particular that can be solved through the spread of sustainable aquaponics.

  1. We are overfishing our oceans
  • March 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that over 70% of fish species were currently endangered.
  •  A study was conducted at the National Centre of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, at the University of California, over a four year period. The scientists projected that the oceans would, barring significant changes, become barren of fish by 2048.
  • According to some estimates 85-95% of the fish caught by commercial fishermen is bi-catch (aquatic life accidentally harvested by trawlers). We end up eating only about 10% of all marine life that is killed in order to feed us.

 

Solution – Aquaculture and Aquaponics. Farm raise fish instead of harvesting them from the ocean.

  1. But so far aquaculture hasn’t provided the answers
  • The average salmon farm produces as much waste as a town of 65,000.
  • In Scotland, an estimated 50,000 tones of untreated and contaminated waste generated from cage salmon farming goes directly into the sea, equivalent to the sewage waste of a population of up to three quarters of Scotland’s population. (Environmentalists issue challenge to Scottish salmon.
  • Growing a pound of salmon may require three to five pounds of wild fish. As a result, shrimp and salmon consume more protein than they produce.
    Catfish, tilapia, and freshwater carp can convert harmful organic wastes into edible fish meat. However, the farming of shrimp and salmon has been found to have a negative impact on the environment.

 

Solution -Recycle the fish waste through biologically active media beds and use it as food for plants, i.e. Sustainable Aquaponics.

  1. A worldwide crisis over water is brewing.
  • sustainable aquaponics - Impending water crisisAccording to the United Nations, 31 countries are now facing water scarcity and 1 billion people lack access clean drinking water.
  • Water consumption is doubling every 20 years and yet at the same time, water sources are rapidly being polluted, depleted, diverted and exploited by corporate interests ranging from industrial agriculture and manufacturing to electricity production and mining.
  • The World Bank predicts that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will suffer from lack of clean and safe drinking water.
  • Agriculture is a major user of ground and surface water in the United States, accounting for 80 percent of the Nation’s consumptive water use and over 90 percent in many Western States.
  • It takes 1,000 tons of water to produce just one ton of grain.

 

Solution – Grow plants using Sustainable Aquaponics, which uses 90% less water than soil-based growing.

Aquaponcs used 90% less waterAquaponics blends the best of hydroponics (using 90% less water than soil-based agriculture) and aquaculture (relieves the fish harvesting pressure from the oceans), while solving the significant inherent problems of each system (chemical fertilizers and fish waste disposal). Aquaponics is quite possibly the most sustainable growing technique ever created.

Aquaponics… gardening re-imagined