Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Environmental Concerns of Aquaponics

Aquaponics - Environmental Concerns by Amaete Umanah

Beginning in the 1980's many Asian and South American governments began a campaign to lend money and other support in a campaign known as "The Blue Revolution". It was widely recognized that the supplies of seafood from wild catch sources were drying up and it was felt that the best way to over come this was through the extensive expansion of aquaculture, the growing of fin fish and shell fish on farms.

Although the intentions were good and the technology was feasible the ecological ramifications were not fully understood and it took the Tsunami of 2003 to show the world just how much damage was being done to the coastal areas.

During the 1980's and the 1990's approximately 35% of all of the worlds mangrove swamps were bulldozed to put in place shrimp farms from Asia to Central America. Almost all of these farms were funded by local governments through loans from the World Bank. From the beginning world environmentalist began to warn of dire consequences if this practice were to continue. They pointed out that it was the mangrove trees in the swamps that protected the coastal areas from storms and erosion, but the warnings fell on deaf ears.

Another issue that was raised constantly was the fact that the toxic waste that settled into the bottom of the shrimp ponds would build up to a point where by after a few years the pond could no longer be used. The result was the farmers would just abandon those ponds and clear away even more mangrove swamps to build replacement ponds.

The destruction of coastal habitat was rampant and fast. In December of 2003 a catastrophe the likes of which modem man has never witnessed before unfolded in full view of television audiences around the world. A major earthquake off the coast of Sumatra set off a tsunami that completely wiped out much of the Asian shrimp industry and also killed hundreds of thousands of people. The fact that the farms were destroyed was one thing. This could be expected of anything built right on a seacoast and theoretically could be replaced.

The fact of the matter is, this is never going to happen because people and governments have finally realized the environmentalist were right. The lost of the protective mangrove swamps has been attributed to the loss of thousands of lives and villages as the tidal wave swept inland farther than any water had ever gone before. As a result almost every country in the world has now set in place strict laws governing the use of coastal mangrove swamps thereby eliminating these areas to be used to grow cheap shrimps in coastal ponds.

This now dynamically changes entire farm raised shrimp farming industry world wide. Without the ability to use the coastal areas the farmers in these countries must move towards more eco-friendly ways to grow the product. The cost of operations for them will now rise thereby leveling the playing field for shrimp farmers in consumer countries.

You can follow me and watch my progress as I start a new Commercial Aquaponics Venture on my website at socalfishfarm.com/fish. You can also click on the upper tab that says "Blog" for more in-depth personal experiences and industry news.

If you have other suggestions/tips, I would love to hear it!

Amaete Umanah, Author.

Some articles are culled from my website http://www.socalfishfarm.com/fish

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Amaete_Umanah

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