Aquaculture has a bad name among environmentalists, but several entrepreneurs are building inland, indoor fish farms that release nearly no pollution.
Fish farms have come under fire for creating waste and breeding diseases that can infect wild fish that come into contact with farmed fish raised in coastal pens.
But Yoni Zohar is experimenting with new technology in his lab at Baltimore's Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology. He tricks fish like female seabream that don't normally breed in captivity into thinking they are in their natural spawning grounds. "The idea is to have the entire life cycle in completely clean and controlled conditions that are disease-free, so you don't introduce anything from the outside," Zohar said.
Meanwhile in Vermont, Bill Martin of Blue Ridge Aquaculture is growing tilapia in concrete tanks inland and selling the fish live to markets from Toronto to Baltimore.
Both Zohar's and Martin's fish farms are self-contained and free of disease.
"I'm not a tree-hugger or an environmentalist by nature," Martin said. "I am one because it makes this capitalism that you see here work so much better."
Martin will soon test new machines that fillet the fish automatically, helping him compete with tilapia growers in China, Vietnam and Latin America.
He said he aims to eventually use feed that contains no fish meal and grow other kinds of fish and even shrimp. He predicts indoor fish farms will be the clean and green future of aquaculture (Dan Charles, NPR, April 7).
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