What is sustainability – Ocean Fish Farming

20130819-083000.jpg Depleting fish stocks, super trawlers, fishing rights and increasing demand for fish to eat have all led to new forms of ‘farming’ fish. It makes sense – confine the space to an area that can be easily managed, net the farms to avoid other fish entering the enclosures, no need for trawlers and it avoid the unnecessary death of other species being caught in the nets.

But, the vast majority of fish farming is done on land with brackish water. It consumes vast amounts of fresh water and in some cases the fish stocks are so packed in that antibiotics are needed to stop the spread of infection and disease.

The solution? Fish farming in the oceans.

Eco-Business has reported that a “Honolulu-based aquaculture company Hawaii Oceanic Technology recently received a Canadian patent for its open ocean farming system and the company is expecting to receive more from the European Union, Japan and Australia.”

“‘The idea is to move fish farming off-land, away from industrialised near shore waters, bays and estuaries, out into the deep ocean, where it is a desert-like environment,’ said Spencer. There, the farming system will be isolated and submerged so it will not be affected by surface activities like high winds or typhoons.”

Sounds like an awesome idea.

Yes it needs permanent nets in place but they can be better designed to avoid larger species being trapped.

Yes it needs trawler type transportation to get the fish back from the ocean farms but they will be going straight there and straight back rather than searching for shoals of fish.

And we need all the land we can get for other things that can’t be ocean based.

Fish live in the oceans so why not farm them in the oceans.

Sounds like the ocean farming system would use less resources than land based farming and have less impact on nature than traditional fishing techniques.

Love it. Another resource productivity initiative in the making.

Thanks to @joanne_bradley for finding this one.

2 Comments on “What is sustainability – Ocean Fish Farming

  1. Here in Canada we have a lot of issues with ocean aquaculture farms for farmed salmon spreading diseases to wild stocks. Many are actually pushing for land-based systems to address escape and effluent issues. But then I see the deep ocean aspect of this and maybe that addresses the issues, assuming the economics work out. It’s such a complicated issue.

  2. Hi Isaac. Thanks for the comment. It is a very complicated issue. Ultimately the best option would have been to not deplete or over fish the stocks in the first place, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I think the deep ocean solution goes some way to addressing the spread of diseases – if you think about the increased spread of human diseases in higher density populations then this solution may work if the density of the fish are kept to natural levels. But my fear is to make the economics stack up without costing externalities then the density of the fish will be increased to make it work. It’s about time we analysed the true cost to nature in our economic modeling.

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