Pacific Island Trials Aquaponics for Food Supply. Will Cities be Next? | This Big City
Aquaponics could hold the answer to food supply for islands in the Pacific. Many lack suitable soil for growing crops, have limited freshwater, and struggle to import fresh produce because of rising fuel costs. Moreover, a recent study by the marine conservation and advocacy group Oceana named the Cook Islands the country most at risk of food insecurity through ocean acidification, which threatens its fish stocks.
Now, Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands, is trialling a new aquaponic farm which combines aquaculture (raising fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants without soil) in symbiosis. In this carbon-neutral ‘closed-loop’ system, nitrate-rich water from the fish tanks irrigate vegetables in nearby beds. The fish waste nourishes the plants; they in turn filter and oxygenate the water before it returns to the tanks. No herbicides, pesticides or hormones are used, and the system uses just 10% of the water required by traditional agriculture.