addressing marine concerns, sparking career interest
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), doubling aquaculture
in the United States could create over 50,000 jobs and a billion dollar
industry. Environmental science professor Dr. Mark Green’s class MS
360–Aquaculture: Science and Methods might help to make that happen.
wild-caught seafood industry is struggling,” says Green. “Many of the fish
stocks are being harvested at an unsustainable rate and are literally
disappearing from the ocean.”
In MS 360,
students maintained a variation of an aquaponics system—a combination of both
aquaculture (raising aquatic organisms in a controlled environment) and
hydroponics (growing plants in water). A large, plastic fish tank housed the
aquatic organisms—tilapia in MS 360’s case. A marine pump circulated water from
the tank to trays of leafy greens. The water filtered through the plants until
it eventually returned, clean and filtered, to the fish tank.
of the project are two-fold, says senior environmental science major Shradha
Miller ’14. “The fish waste provides nutrients, mainly nitrogen, to the plants
that help them grow. And the plants maintain a healthy water quality balance
for the tilapia.”
that 91 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States originates
abroad—half of which is from aquaculture. As a result of imported seafood, the
U.S. seafood trade deficit is currently valued at $11.2 billion.
opportunity for tremendous growth in the aquaculture industry,” says Green.
“I’m a big proponent of sustainable aquaculture.”
getting the hands-on experience they need to both understand and operate an
aquaculture operation. Some, like Miller, are even considering going into
“I’m thinking about starting an aquaculture
business some point after graduation,” she says. “It’s highly sustainable,
takes stress off wild stocks, and produces a super fresh product. Not to
mention how lucrative it can be if done properly.”