Polyculture (IMTA), a better way to produce fish


Aquaculture of the Future

Kendall Sarapas – Natural Resource Conservation Wildlife

Alexis Duda – Sustainable Food & Farming

Aaron Johnson – Building and Construction Technology

The fishing industry has been important since the dawn of mankind, being a rich and reliable food source. One of my first fishing voyages was with my grandpa on his boat in the sea. He was an avid fisherman who went fishing quite often. I caught my first salmon on his boat which made me want to explore the world of salmon. As soon as I saw the tip of the fishing pole point down towards the water I ran over. I started reeling in what felt like a ton of bricks on the other end dragging me to the side of the boat. I clenched on to that pole with all of my strength and reeled in the massive salmon very slowly. The weight of the fish on the hook squirming around below the water was a struggle for any ten year old to handle. My grandpa came running over and helped me reel in the salmon. That weekend we chopped up the salmon and cooked it for dinner. After that first salmon was caught, I needed to know more about their way of life. Continue Reading

Environmental Impacts of Shrimp Aquaculture and Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) as a Solution

Kaitlyn McGarvey – Pre-Veterinary Science

Sean O’Neil – Environmental Science

Spencer Scannell – Natural Resources Conservation

In 1987, Champerico, Guatemala suffered a widespread outbreak of a severe neurological disease called paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). What began as six people at health clinics complaining of headaches, dizziness, and weakness, quickly grew into a much larger problem. Within hours, over 100 people sought medical attention for a wide range of symptoms. One child’s symptoms quickly progressed to respiratory paralysis, ultimately causing death. A total of 187 people received medical treatment and of those, 26 died (Rodrigue et al., 1990, p. 267).  Further investigation identified the consumption of clams or clam soup as the common link between the affected individuals (Rodrigue et al., 1990). Continue Reading

Aquaculture and Its Impact on the Environment

Authors: Brianna Healey, Pre-Veterinary Sciences; Will Dell’Erba, Forestry; Kurt Leavitt, Building and Construction Technology

Americans consume 4.8 billion pounds of seafood annually, and 90% of the fish consumed in the U.S. comes from China and overseas (Fish Watch, n.d.). Recently, seafood consumption has gone up steadily as fish are viewed as a healthy protein source (NOAA, n.d.). While this is good for our personal health, it is causing extreme impacts on ocean fish populations. Scientists predict that if overfishing continues at its current rate, wild populations will be down 90% by the year 2050 (One green planet, n.d.). The pressure must be taken off the ocean and freshwater fish that we love to eat, and a viable solution to this problem is aquaculture. Aquaculture is now necessary to meet the demands for seafood in the United States (Cousteau, 2014). Continue Reading

Is Aquaculture Good or Bad for the Environment?

Zack Nash (BCT)

Molly Korowotny (NRC)

Rachel Grabar (Pre-Vet)

A fish farmer smiles as he looks out over his 11,000 hectare (about 42 square miles) farm near the Guadalquivir River in Spain, where a feast is taking place. Except he wasn’t watching the fish feasting on pelleted feed, it was the local population of birds devouring the stock of this natural aquaculture farm. Dan Barber, an American chef, asks: “[Why are you smiling?] [Aren’t] they feasting on your fish?”  The farmer emphatically replies: “Yes!”  The farmer goes on to describe that the farm loses 20% of their fish and fish eggs to birds (Abend, 2009). However, this is an interconnected ecosystem. The booming bird population eats the shrimp and the shrimp eat the phytoplankton. In this system, the healthier the predatory birds are, the healthier the rest of the system becomes. The farmer created an ecosystem that relies on each part to be healthy, and he extracts the excess. This means the farmer does not need any extra feed for the fish, because all of their food is produced naturally within the farm by algae and the other complimentary organisms (Barber, 2010). This technique for growing fish has not only produced large amounts of fish (1,200 tons a year to be exact), but has proven to be beneficial to the Guadalquivir River and the surrounding environment (Abend, 2009). This Spanish fish farm illustrates that aquaculture can be productive and beneficial to the environment if done correctly.  Continue Reading

A Proposition to Decrease Urban Obesity through Aquaponics and Urban Repurposing

We hear about them all the time: Food crises across the world. From the comfort of our couches, we’ve all seen the commercials with the host explaining the plight of starving children; their environment and lack of food, school, and many basic necessities. These people come from places that we couldn’t find on a map if we tried. Half paying attention, we’re looking at our Facebook feed, walking over to the thermostat and turning it up to a comfortable seventy degrees. During the drive to work or school, a story is on the radio about food riots in Libya as we take another sip of our Starbucks Iced Hazelnut Macchiato. So far away, it seems almost like a dream, these places we’ve never come close to experiencing; we believe that this is the one and only face of starvation and malnutrition, how fortunate we are to live in a country that doesn’t have that problem. Continue Reading

Local, Small-Scale Polyculture: Solving the Problem of Uncertainty for American Consumers


Figure 1. Example of aquaculture. Andy Danylchuk, powerpoint: Aquaculture 2012

Katelyn Buckley, Environmental Science and Hillary Whitcomb, Natural Resource Conservation

Introduction to Aquaculture

Agriculture, “possibly the greatest single milestone in man’s history” (Baker, 2013), is credited with starting human civilizations. The domestication of plants around 5-6000 years ago allowed tribes to settle down and provide a reliable source of food, often in surplus. This surplus of food jump-started a population increase, that in turn pushed for more technological advancements in the field that would further increase yields (Baker, 2013). Agriculture is a primary reason why humans have become the dominate species on the planet, and the domestication of food resources did not stop with terrestrial plants. Sometime between the years 2000-1000 B.C.  a Chinese man named S. Y. Lin was the first known person to farm raise the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in captivity. It was in China, almost 4000 years ago, that aquaculture first appeared (Rabanal, 1988, p. 4). As with the agricultural revolution, aquaculture provides a significant source of protein that, in this day and age, can be transported and enjoyed by people around the globe. Continue Reading