Vertical Underwater Sea Farming Could Be Our Salvation

As climate change and overfishing causes declining fish populations more fishermen are creating ocean farms raising kelp and shellfish. In so doing fishermen are evolving from hunters to farmers helping the world’s oceans in the process.

[DIGEST: New Scientist, WWF, GreenWave,, Fuller, Sustaina]

Quoting Jacques Cousteau, “We must plant the sea…using the sea as farmers instead of hunters. That is what civilization is all about—farming replacing hunting,” Bren Smith reveals how his award-winning three-dimensional ocean farm can produce 30 tons of sea vegetables and 250,000 shellfish per acre every five months. It also boosts biodiversity by providing protected habitat for other fish and creates interesting dive sites for recreational scuba divers. The only parts of the farm visible from land are a few buoys.

We can’t continue eating fish – our last wild, staple food – at its current rate. Climate change is altering ocean habitats by warming seawater, and the increased carbon in the oceans is making the water more acidic, so many fish stocks are falling,” Smith writes, describing the future of hunting for fish. “Couple that with overfishing and we could be looking at entire populations being wiped out.” A self-described “high school dropout” who has fished the world’s oceans for 30 years, Smith is now helping other fishermen go from hunter to farmer with a farm in the ocean.

Sustainability of the oceans is of vital importance for the approximately three billion people in the world who rely on both wild-caught and farmed seafood as their primary source of protein.

Smith’s ocean farm utilizes the whole coastal water column, from the top of the wave’s surface to the ocean bottom, producing tons of food in a relatively small area. Thimble Island Ocean Farm, Smith’s original farm in Connecticut is about 18 feet from the ocean surface to the ocean floor. The ocean farming model can work in any part of the ocean where the water is nine to 75 feet deep.

Smith created a non-profit organization, GreenWave a year and a half ago. Since then, GreenWave has helped 12 farmers adopt the model in the Northeastern US. These are not franchises. Smith, who has 25 more ocean farms in the works, helps to set up and offers

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