The world is facing a real food crisis – fish, one of the major food sources, are dwindling in number even while their consumption is growing. The solution is to find new sustainable ways of raising fish in a manner that is economical and ecological. For that purpose, the invention of land-based fish farms, built around Recirculating Aquaculture Systems is a true life-saver.
The World’s Appetite for Fish
Fish are a major source of nutrition and a basic ingredient of a healthy diet. This fact has not gone unnoticed by the world’s population as indicated by the constant rise in per-capita consumption from an average of 9.0 kg/person in the 1960s to almost 20.5 kg/person today. With the continued rise in quality of life, this trend is expected to grow.
Where will the additional billions of fish come from?
Existing Sources Are Insufficient
Fish supply is comprised of wild catch (roughly 51% of all fish) and fish grown in sea- and lake-based fish farms (aquaculture). Both methods have major drawbacks that will not be able to sustain the necessary production levels necessary to meet the ever-increasing demand for fresh and healthy fish.
Wild Capture - depleted
The growing demand for fish has come at a cost to the wild fish population, which has shrunk and retracted further away from land. Wild fish stocks are at a dangerously unsustainable level. A third of commercial fish stocks are being harvested at biologically unsustainable levels and 90% are fully exploited, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization 2017 study (latest numbers). In recent decades, nations whose own fish stocks have collapsed have dispatched industrial trawlers to fish on the high seas and in other countries’ territorial waters. China’s vessels, for example, roams the ocean from Africa to the Antarctic to the Pacific
Aquaculture - unsustainable
Continually increasing fish production from sea-based aquaculture raises many environmental concerns. If aquaculture continues to grow without constraints, it could lead to degradation of land and marine habitats, chemical pollution from fertilizers and antibiotics, the negative impacts of invasive species, and a lessened fish resistance to disease due to close proximity and intensive farming practices. As a result, aquaculture is being limited to specific zones and areas. This means that aquaculture is limited not only by access to large bodies of waters but by specific conditions these bodies of water must maintain
The Solution: Land-Based Fisheries
Environmentally controlled land-based fisheries, utilizing cutting-edge technology offer a cost-effective solution that addresses the growing global shortage of fish while promising high financial returns.
Recirculation Aquaculture System (RAS)
Represent a new and unique way to farm fish. Instead of the traditional method of growing fish outdoors in open ponds and raceways, this system rears fish at high densities, in indoor tanks with a controlled environment. Recirculating systems filter and clean the water for recycling back through fish culture tanks. New water is added to the tanks only to make up for splash out and evaporation and for that used to flush out waste materials. In contrast, many raceway systems used to grow trout are termed "open" or "flow-through" systems because all the water makes only one pass through the tank and then is discarded. Fish grown in RAS must be supplied with all the conditions necessary to remain healthy and grow. The water recirculation technique also implies that hatcheries no longer necessarily need to be placed in pristine areas near rivers. Now they can be built almost anywhere with a much smaller source of clean germ-free water.
Advantages of Land-Based RAS Fisheries
Rearing fish in closed and controlled environments generates many advantages for the fish, the grower, and the environment.
Advanced control of water temperatures, salt concentrations, and oxygen levels have proven to reduce time to grow fish
Access to relatively untouched water sources and filtered air provide a pollution-free environment
Achieved by micro-adjustments to feed, salt levels and water temperatures saves the fish energy
From predators, boot-leg fishing, unexpected climate changes, and unsold catch
RAS are ecologically friendly and allow intensive raising of fish while generating minimum waste and zero pollution
No seasonality. Mature fish can be produced every day and based on exact local demands