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"Paddock shifting" + deep sea aquaculture

 
Jake Parkhurst
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Hey Folks! I just came across this great clip about using spherical cages in the deep sea to farm fish:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpPZUGIJ2M0

This got me thinking along about a few ideas:

1) Since water shifts nutrients around, paddock shifting doesn't make sense for micronutrients. But as soon as you get high enough in the food-chain to contain the item (prawns, trout, sharks,...whales!) it might be possible to adapt some of the ideas of paddock shifting to fish farming.

2) Deep sea homesteading: What if you tied up enough of these to make a pier with an acre of surface area and built a little floating homestead. Maybe even figure out a way to protect a small plants growing operation so they don't wash away in the next 30' swell.

3) One of the cool ideas in the clip is about using the gulf stream to transport them around to cut down on fuel costs. I wonder if there is a way to combine this with algae biofuel operations to completely cover fuel costs.

4) He says the phrase "artificial reefs" which is basically creating edge. I wonder how you could take this to the next level to promote food to grow around it and infiltrate the system and feed your fish (which brings up the fact that I don't know much about fish farming: how would you feed the fish all the way out in the ocean?)

Should I break these up into separate posts?
 
Andrew Parker
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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It appears that the developer of the system is applying the old adage, "the solution to pollution is dilution." He is likely producing amounts of waste that are similar to his competitors, but the deeper water dilutes the waste before, or as, it settles to the bottom. The video itself is shallow on facts and deep on propaganda, I wouldn't be making life or business decisions based on it. It was evident in the video that the sphere needs constant cleaning to keep it from becoming encrusted with sea life, sealing the fish and their waste inside.

As a concept, I think floating paddocks, without supplemental food, would be extremely difficult and pricey to manage. Fish ranching is a possibility. You can create a sheltered nursery and improve "grazing" with artificial reefs and floating islands. Predator control and "rustlers" could be a big problem. (As an aside, there is a serious problem with piracy in the third world. Shipments of processed (packaged) seafood are often intercepted on their way to port and fish farms are often raided for payroll and equipment.)

Many of the problems associated with fish farming can be, and in many cases, are, alleviated with polyculture. Mixing complimentary species maximizes feed utilization and can include periphyton-based aquaculture that utilizes the waste stream from farm animals. If you want to get even more complex, you can experiment with integrating all that into an aquaponics system.

I did some research a few years ago on improving artisanal fisheries. There is a lot of good literature available online, if you want to pursue your ideas.
 
Jake Parkhurst
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Thanks for replying Andrew!

1) Do you think it is possible to design the system so that the "pollution" in the form of fish poo is recycled through the system via algae? There's video about whales and how they cycle nutrients in the ocean by eating fish down low and releasing fecal plums up high that feed the algae that feed the fish that feed the whales. I wonder if fish poo is only "pollution" under certain circumstances, like close to shore, but can create life in other circumstances, like 10 miles of coast... thoughts?

2) Do you think it is possible to design the paddock to encourage encrusted sea life that could feed the fish (or at least provide habitat for life that would feed the fish)?

3) Yes! What you describe as ranching is what I was envisioning with these paddocks. Thanks for clarifying that.

4) Hadn't thought of the piracy issue. But if the farms were anchored just a few miles off coast of a relatively safe country that might solve that problem. But that takes away some safety from the idea of floating around on the gulf stream.

Thanks again!
 
Andrew Parker
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Too much poop in one place can overwhelm the capacity of the surrounding ecosystem to process it. That is why sanitary practices from the country don't work in the city.

I doubt that whales purposefully fertilize algae but it is nice to think they do.

Another way to deal with too much poop is to adapt the ecosystem for it by putting in artificial reefs, brush parks and floating islands. As the microorganisms process the poop, they are then eaten by larger organisms and so on. In a conventional monoculture aquaculture pond, the only way to deal with the poop is to flush the system or use pens. Both systems severely stress the surrounding waters. By stocking with complementary species that utilize the entire water column and the bottom, and promoting the growth of periphyton to filter the water, you can maintain fairly high stocking densities and maximize utilization of feed while reducing or eliminating the need for expensive pumps, filters and aerators.

In a fish ranching scenario, you would improve existing habitat or create it from scratch. Brush parks are used in lakes and estuaries to provide cover for fry and provide food in the form of periphyton. They also serve to concentrate fish so they are easier to harvest. Reefs, natural and artificial, serve a similar purpose in near shore waters. Floating islands, either near shore or in deep waters, should be designed like floating reefs or brush parks, providing shelter and food. The paddock idea seems overly complex and costly.

In periphyton based aquaculture, Periphyton feed the fish and the periphyton are fed manure.
 
Jake Parkhurst
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For the floating islands in fish ranching, would you keep fish in near the island and easy to harvest using some kind of fence?
 
Andrew Parker
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In most cases, the floating island would simply act to concentrate fish for harvest by providing shelter and a food source, as well as provide a nursery for fry. Floating islands, artificial reefs and brush parks can and are used in both open water and in enclosures. It depends on if you are "farming" or "ranching."
 
Jake Parkhurst
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Thanks Andrew.
 
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