In a recent interview with Mark Hasey, owner of The Farming Fish, an aquaponic vegetable and fish production operation in Rogue River, Oregon, Sharon Kleyne covered the topic of “aquaponics”. Although the first forms of aquaponics were cultivated by the early Aztecs, now this little known form of agriculture has potential to have a greatly positive impact on not only fresh water supply, but also global food shortages.
The new method works by combining two necessary forms of agriculture; fish farming and plant production. The fish water becomes toxic with excrement and is then moved to the plants, where the excrement becomes nutrients for the plants and the water is filtered by plant absorption. The newly clean water is then moved back to the fish to again be cycled.
Most green leaf vegetables grow well in the hydroponic system, although the most profitable are roses, tomatoes, okra, chinese cabbage, cantaloupe, lettuce, basil, and bell peppers. Other species of vegetables that grow well in an aquaponic system include, taro, radishes, strawberries, melons, beans, parsnips, sweet potato, peas, kohlrabi, watercress, onions, turnips, and herbs.
Aquaponics is beginning to benefit many areas of the world for a variety of reasons. Barbados is a densely populated island with little fresh water that mainly depends on agriculture imports, but with aquaponics they are recycling their water and in return able to gain dependence from the World Food Market. In Bangladesh farmers rely on chemicals to preserve plants during adverse climatic conditions, but recently city dwellers have been using the water recycling system to grow their own safe food. In places like Taiwan, water is government controlled and farmers have begun to rely on aquaponics to increase agriculture while abiding government regulations.
This revolutionizing technology has the potential to help all parts of the world, in many different areas.