Aquaponics is AgTech and AgTech is booming. The question is, are we ready?
The other day Aquaculture Magazine editor Dr. Greg Lutz posted an intriguing article from the “Beef Central” website. “Aquaculture shapes as beef’s big protein threat, says financial guru.” The thesis was that between 1969 and 2009, global per capita animal protein had increased from 38 kg to 60 kg and that seafood was now the largest source of it at 160 million metric tonnes (mt) annually, leaving beef a bit in the dust at only 68 mt.
By: George B. Brooks, Jr. Ph.D.
ccording to the article, of that 160 million mt, capture fisheries have flattened out at a little over 90 million mt with aquaculture steadily growing to make up the difference. Why? Well it seems much of what aquaculturists have worked on over the past 50 years is having a positive effect. Improved genetics, improved growth rates, improved feed conversion ratios, new technologies and decreased costs have all played a role. The article was to say the least inspiring, but for a different reason for me than one might expect. The statistics I was already familiar with to some degree having heard them in various forms at World Aquaculture Society conferences over the years. What was interesting is that the larger society is now taking a greater notice. This is encouraging. In my humble opinion, it is becoming more and more clear to all that in just a few decades we are going to have to figure out how to feed nine billion people. Simultaneously, I am seeing in papers and articles that the world also is beginning to under70 »
stand that climate, economic and political changes are making traditional farming more and more difficult and thus to feed that nine billion people, solutions like aquaculture are needed. The question is what is the role that aquaponics will play in providing new food resources for the nine billion? Or for the case of this article, how is it going to be paid for? To this
latter question, allow me to propose one possible solution. Have your ever heard of AgTech? AgTech is short for Agriculture Technology. It refers to the growing list of often high-tech solutions we use to enhance and expand our ability to grow food, fiber and energy. Though unfamiliar to many, with $4.5 billion dollars invested in 2015 ac-
A Review of the European Union Aquaculture Industry.