I wanted to make sure I covered all my assets, so to speak, with regards to fish farms.

There ARE good fish farms out there, like aquaponic farms. According to Nelson Pade, an aquaponic system provider and educator, “Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soilless plant culture). In aquaponics, the nutrient-rich water that results from raising fish provides a source of natural fertilizer for the growing plants. As the plants consume the nutrients, they help to purify the water that the fish live in. A natural microbial process keeps both the fish and plants healthy. This creates a sustainable ecosystem where both plants and fish can thrive. Aquaponics is the ideal answer to a fish farmers problem of disposing of nutrient rich water and a hydroponic growers need for nutrient rich water.”

“Commercially, aquaponics is in its infancy but, as the technology develops and is refined, it has the potential to be a more efficient and space saving method of growing fish, vegetables and herbs. By incorporating aquaponics, hydroponic growers can eliminate the cost and labor involved in mixing a fertilizer solution and commercial aquaculturists may be able to drastically reduce the amount of filtration needed in recirculating fish culture.” Although there are a limited number of commercial aquaponic operations, many people are expressing a “strong interest in this intensive method of food production.”

Ideally, fish farms around the world would convert into this closed system of production. Not only are they growing fish more humanely because their excrement is being used as fertilizer to grow plants.

At the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School which has recently been moved to Governor’s Island, the students will have a freshwater aquaponic system to grow tilapia which will also work symbiotically with their organic garden. Because all of the students come from families below the poverty line, these children will be cultivating their own food and setting an example for the rest of us.