Aquaculture & aquaponics – farmers diversify
Amid masses of other info, the Austasia Aquaculture October Newsletter (pdf) tells of two farmers, one in WA and one in Victoria who have diversified into fish growing.
Murray Cod production in Vic.
Victorian farmer Tony Butler became tired of problems caused by the unpredictable, erratic weather drought brings and four years ago he diversified into aquaculture. He established a reticulation system in the farm’s abandoned piggery and stocked fingerlings from a government hatchery.
Now he has 1500 Murray Cod in a range of sizes, including table-ready. He says that moving into aquaculture brought with it a steep learning curve but now he’s establishing another reticulation system and a new processing facility. His fish, produced on his farm at Newstead in the Loddon Valley, is served at a number of well-known local restaurants.
A hobby becomes large scale aquaponic fish production
Anton Strehle, of WA’s Total West Fisheries – from the water-rich Waroona district – has diversified his farm, where he organically produces vegetables, cattle and sheep, into aquaponic fish production. He made the move by developing his fish-growing hobby.
Using organic aquaponics techniques along with solar and wind energy, Between 500,000 and one million barramundi, silver perch, pink snapper, brown and rainbow trout are in production.
What exactly is ‘aquaponics’?
Aquaponics is the combination of recirculation aquaculture and hydroponics. Hydroponics is growing plants in a solution of water and nutrients, without soil. In aquaponics, you grow plants and fish together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides a food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. This creates a sustainable ecosystem where both plants and fish can thrive. Aquaponics is the ideal answer to a fish farmer’s problem of disposing of nutrient rich water and a hydroponic growers need for nutrient rich water.
In aquaculture, the water quickly becomes nutrient rich due to the fish digesting their food and excreting waste. The waste water is usually filtered and/or disposed of to keep the tank water free of toxic buildups.
Info from the Adelaide conference: Farmed fish are our future
- Aquaculture is the fastest growing food producing sector in the world according to conference promoters in Adelaide;
- Around 1,000 delegates attended the conference;
- Many Australian primary producers are looking to supplement their incomes or moving into a more rewarding vocation;
- Fish farming is seen as very attractive;
- Aquaculture provides about 27 percent of total world seafood supply;
Some experts say within 25 years half of the fish we eat will be farmed.
The Austasia Newsletter is fascinating in the range and sheer numbers of fish farms it reports on. Are you tempted?