Fish farming on land versus fish farming in the sea

„Why are fish so indif­fe­rent to us?“ – this ques­ti­on is asked by repor­ter Han­nes Jae­ni­cke in the ZDF docu­men­ta­ry „Im Ein­satz für den Lachs“ (Ger­man). The report and its con­tent have been the sub­ject of much dis­cus­sion in the media and in socie­ty in recent weeks. From our point of view, this is a very important topic, becau­se the docu­men­ta­ti­on shows the fatal con­se­quen­ces of mass live­stock far­ming in so-cal­led sal­mon farms in net cages for the natu­ral wild sal­mon stocks and the eco­sys­tem. The sal­mon is one of the most popu­lar edi­ble fish in the world, and no one real­ly wants to live without it. But less of the sal­mon that end up on our pla­tes are wild cat­ches. Rea­ring in aquacul­tures could be the solu­ti­on to con­ti­nue pro­du­cing popu­lar fish spe­ci­es in lar­ge quan­ti­ties. Alt­hough many peop­le are awa­re of the over­fi­shing of the oce­ans and the neces­si­ty of fish far­ming, very few know the advan­ta­ges and dis­ad­van­ta­ges of dif­fe­rent aquacul­tu­re sys­tems. In the fol­lowing, we will go into the dif­fe­ren­ces using the examp­le of salmon.

The con­sump­ti­on of fish and its consequences

It is esti­ma­ted that Ger­mans con­su­me more than 14 kilo­grams of fish per year. Alas­ka poll­ack and sal­mon are among the most popu­lar edi­ble fish. As a result, the­se par­ti­cu­lar­ly end­an­ge­red fish spe­ci­es, among many others, have beco­me a mass pro­duct. In the ref­ri­gera­ted shel­ves of super­mar­kets, sal­mon can be found in all pos­si­ble forms: whe­ther who­le, as fresh fil­lets, smo­ked or in sushi. Jae­ni­cke puts it qui­te drasti­cal­ly: „The big­gest pro­blem is our insa­tia­ble appe­ti­te for fish. In Cana­da, the natu­ral habi­tat of the sal­mon, the stocks in the waters have been redu­ced con­si­der­ab­ly. In the past, inha­bi­tants, bears and sea eagles could feed on hund­reds of thousands of sal­mon, but this is no lon­ger pos­si­ble today, as the inter­na­tio­nal indus­try deman­ds several mil­li­on tons of sal­mon annually.”

The pro­blems of net cages

In princip­le, spe­ci­es-appro­pria­te and sus­tainab­le rea­ring in aquacul­tu­re sys­tems can con­tri­bu­te to the con­ser­va­ti­on of natu­ral stocks. Howe­ver, the­re are enor­mous dif­fe­ren­ces with regard to the dif­fe­rent rea­ring methods. A descrip­ti­on of dif­fe­rent aquacul­tu­re forms is avail­ab­le in our blog post “Open aquacul­tu­re sys­tems“. The ZDF docu­men­ta­ry takes a clo­ser look at the rea­ring of sal­mon in Nor­way in net cages. Net pens or cage sys­tems are ancho­red in natu­ral waters such as ponds, rivers or the open sea. Alt­hough the spa­ti­al limi­ta­ti­on faci­li­ta­tes fee­ding, con­trol and fishing, this form of rea­ring also cau­ses some pro­blems. The ani­mals are not rea­red in a spe­ci­es-appro­pria­te way in a con­fi­ned space. At the same time, meta­bo­lic pro­ducts of the fish, food remains and often admi­nis­te­red drugs such as anti­bio­tics reach the sur­roun­ding waters direct­ly. Bio­lo­gi­cal dead zones deve­lop under­ne­ath the net farms. Infe­sta­ti­on with viru­ses and para­si­tes is also a major pro­blem in such cage sys­tems due to the high sto­cking den­si­ties and lack of cur­rent. Dise­a­ses and defor­ma­ti­ons of the ani­mals occur in a very con­fi­ned space. Dead fish are not fished out of the lar­ge mas­ses but sink to the bot­tom and con­ta­mi­na­te the water the­re as „bac­te­ria slings­hot“. If you look at the­se cir­cum­s­tan­ces clo­se­ly, it is high­ly ques­tion­ab­le whe­ther fish from such faci­li­ties can be eaten with appe­ti­te at all.

Aquacul­tu­re can also be envi­ron­ment­al­ly friendly

By rea­ring fish in recir­cu­la­ti­on sys­tems on land, sus­taina­bi­li­ty can be signi­fi­cant­ly incre­a­sed. The­se clo­sed sys­tems have enor­mous advan­ta­ges com­pa­red to other forms of aquaculture:

  • Avo­id­ance of nega­ti­ve effects on the envi­ron­ment by kee­ping the sys­tem closed
  • Ener­gy saving through effi­ci­ent design of the technology
  • Water saving thanks to power­ful water tre­at­ment and
  • Remo­val of feed resi­du­es, excre­ments and meta­bo­lic pro­ducts by mecha­ni­cal and bio­lo­gi­cal filters
  • Suf­fi­ci­ent habi­tat for the ani­mals by fixed sto­cking den­si­ties, which result from the exis­ting water volume
  • Safe­guar­ding ani­mal wel­fa­re through auto­ma­tic con­trol and per­ma­nent moni­to­ring of all the important parameters

The­se advan­ta­ges are also com­bi­ned in the SEAWATER Cube, with which we would like to con­tri­bu­te to the pro­tec­tion of natu­ral stocks and enab­le sus­tainab­le, high-qua­li­ty and regio­nal fish far­ming under con­trol­led con­di­ti­ons. In our faci­li­ty we com­ple­te­ly dis­pen­se medi­ca­ti­on and growth pro­mo­ters with the use of machi­nes. SEAWATER Fish grows up with suf­fi­ci­ent space in clear water. As soon as the fish are rea­dy to be sold, they are fished fresh by hand only after recei­ving the customer’s order. In this way, we gua­ran­tee both a gent­le and needs-based remo­val from the tank as well as an excep­tio­nal fresh­ness of our pro­ducts and avoid rejects completely.

Qua­li­ty ins­tead of quantity

In sum­ma­ry, we can sta­te that the claim for fish con­sump­ti­on must also be „Less is more, but in high qua­li­ty“. When choo­sing fish pro­ducts, it should be ensu­red that they ide­al­ly come from respon­si­b­ly mana­ged and clo­sed recir­cu­la­ti­on sys­tems. Alt­hough excep­tio­nal qua­li­ty is also asso­cia­ted with a hig­her pri­ce, we can pro­tect not only our health, but also our earth through sus­tainab­le, regio­nal and con­scious con­sump­ti­on. Each indi­vi­du­al should make his or her own con­tri­bu­ti­on to the over­all suc­cess and how could it be easier than star­ting here with the topic of food, which accom­pa­nies us every day.

Further informationen about the SEAWATER Cube

Check out more facts about our sys­tem and the technology.

Newsletter abonnieren

Du möchtest regelmäßige Updates zu SEAWATER Cubes erhalten? In unserem monatlichen Newsletter informieren wir zu aktuellen Themen und Entwicklungen rund um unser Unternehmen. Außerdem warten spannende Fachbeiträge zum Thema Aquakultur sowie exklusive Informationen zu Veranstaltungen auf Dich.

Vielen Dank! Du hast Dich erfolgreich für unseren Newsletter angemeldet.