Category Archives: Aquaculture

Aquaponics Startup in South Africa

Here’s a notable aquaponics story this Thirst-day. A 13-year-old girl from north of Pretoria, South Africa runs a promising aquaponics startup while still in school as shown in this inspiring video from October, 2015. On the Expresso Show.

Rikalize Reinecke employs assistants to care for the fish and check the system while she’s in class. Challenges include electricity, water quality testing, and temperature control.

From the YouTube video narration, “Not yet in high school, Rikalize is leading the way, showing that age is no barrier to success.”

Responsible Aquaculture Industry Deported

  “Ecologic Collapse”
Wild caught ocean fish are getting scarce. From the Snapperfarm website:

“In 1980 just 9 percent of the fish consumed by humans was farm raised. Today that figure has grown to a staggering 43 percent. That is 45.5 million tons of farmed fish consumed each year. (FAO 2006) The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predicts that an additional 40 million tons of seafood will be required by 2030 just to maintain current levels of consumption. This will only be possible through aquaculture.”

Brian O’Hanlon‘s Open Blue Sea Farm, using Steve Page’s Aquapod net pens, makes offshore farming in strong currents feasible.

As you will hear in the YouTube video clip from National Geographic‘s Strange Days On Planet Earth, more water flowing from offshore strong currents in Aquapods puts less stress on the fish, is less polluting to the immediate surroundings, and because the pods are far from crowded coastal waters, they are much less susceptible to disease-bearing parasites such as sea lice.

I heard Jack Spirko talk about O’Hanlon’s entrepreneurial beginnings on The Survival Podcast, with some emotional reaction to how approvals O’Hanlon needed from head-scratching bureaucrats were not forthcoming.

Jack Spirko spent most of his military service in Panama (if memory serves). He says Panama is a nice country, but it’s not his country. Spirko also expressed the opinion (paraphrasing here) that in a hungry world with a growing demand for seafood, a U.S. citizen who innovates a cleaner, more productive way to raise fish shouldn’t be forced to build his growing company in some other country.

According to the Mainebiz article, “Fishing for a future: A Searsmont entrepreneur’s aquaculture innovation is welcomed in foreign waters while the U.S. plays catch up,” aquaculture is not new:

“While the tools may be new, the idea of farming the oceans is not. That prescient explorer of the deep blue, Jacques Cousteau, promoted farming the oceans in the early 1970s. “With Earth’s burgeoning human populations to feed, we must turn to the sea with new understanding and new technology,” Cousteau said in his 1973 television show “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.” “We need to farm it as we farm the land.” “

The author of the same Mainebiz piece shares Spirko’s frustration with government permission. Thankfully, there are foreign investors and customers who can get a new industry started.

“Since 2008, Ocean Farm Technologies has shipped AquaPods to companies in Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico and South Korea. Interest has come from all over the world. Turkish businessmen paid Page a visit during a snowy day last winter to check out the AquaPod. And within the last couple of months, the governments of Ecuador and Indonesia have inquired about using the smaller cages, dubbed MicroPods, to help struggling fishermen become farmers. . .”

I guess opportunities with the jobs and money they bring are not wanted in the U.S.A. anymore.