Well-informed investments in intense, outdoor, surface water aquaculture may be essential for the planet. While surface water covers about 75% of the earth, it now produces only 2% of its food. Commercial fish stocks are in peril and cannot help. Still, it’s projected that the world will need to produce 50% more food by 2050.

A major part of the solution may be found in widespread establishment of what’s called Integrated Multi-tropic Aquaculture (IMTA). Superior Aquaculture is at the cutting-edge of this technology.

Briefly, here’s how it works. Happy, schooling fish are grown fairly intensely and fed in Superior’s floating, in-pond (salt or freshwater) raceways. Most of the uneaten feed and feces are captured and re-cycled. The soluble nutrients contained in the fish urine, which escapes to the water, is absorbed by the algae. The pond’s algae acts like a biological solar collector, absorbing the light energy and CO2 from the air. The algae then converts the CO2 and absorbed nutrients to chemical energy, oxygen, water, and very valuable (essential) nutrients, especially omega-3’s.

If that wasn’t enough, the algae also feeds the much larger zooplankton, which with the algae, can be collected as by-products of the raceway operation. The use of these valuable products is almost unlimited.

Zooplankton (on left) grown for young fry or fingerlings in adjacent raceway.

Use of the captured zooplankton and algae as on-farm feed supplements is proven to reduce the amount of commercial feed needed, reduce the amount of the fishmeal component sometimes needed, improve feed conversion ratios (FCR’s) to sometimes less than 1:1, strengthen fish autoimmune systems, improve growth rates, and even to provide healthier, omega-3-enriched fish for human consumption.

As commercial fish feeds continuously become more soy and cottonseed-based, their high levels of pro-inflammatory, pro-oxidative omega-6’s, which can lead to fatty liver disease in fish and diabetes in humans, must be countered by increased levels of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant omega-3’s.

In Summary: IMTA (when practiced wisely) solar energy capture, CO2 reduction, O2 production (about 75% of world’s total), energy, cleaner water, reduced need for wild fish for fish feed; essential nutrient production, capture, and use; healthier, faster-growing fish, plus a healthier, more neurologically appropriate population.

(Extreme due diligence is advised for all aquaculture investments.)