The huge, 7000 cubic metre cage - or 'aquapod' - in which Brian O'Hanlon farms cobia Photo: Open Blue Sea Farms
Is this the future of fish farming?
20th October, 2009
Inside vast, 360-sided, 7000 cubic metre underwater cages off the coast of Panama, marine biologist Brian O'Hanlon is trying to solve some of the problems with large-scale aquaculture
Eight miles from the Caribbean coast of Panama, bobbing on several hundred feet of pristine ocean, 29-year-old Brian O'Hanlon surveys the grand expanse of his opportunity. 'This is the future,' he says with the confidence and, in this heavy swell, the enviable sea-legs of a man with two generations of New York's Fulton Street fishmongering business in his blood.
O'Hanlon, a marine biologist by training, is preparing to embark on a project that promises a revolution in the troubled fish farming business and, with it, the chance to begin to curb the critical over-exploitation of the world's ocean fisheries.
Reconciling the dual instincts of the fish trader and the ecologist is not simple. As a fish-trader, O'Hanlon has watched the collapse of stocks of salmon, snapper, cod, grouper, halibut, skate and Chilean sea bass; as an ecologist, he's watching as species like tuna and swordfish are pushed close to extinction, and industrial fleets fish ever farther down the trophic scale toward jellyfish and plankton in the search for protein.
As global demand for fish increases and wild stocks decline, an estimated production shortfall conservatively estimated at 35 million tons a year over the coming...
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