This free floating, untethered deep ocean fish habitat looks like a giant underwater hamster ball: Aquapods are giant, free range fish farms that float deep under water and provide a solution to the fact that the world’s seas could soon run out of fish.
On average, people eat four times as much fish now than they did in 1950 – and in 2015 global fish consumption hit a record high of 17kg (37 pounds) per person per year. This increasing demand for fish on our plate has lead to overfishing with no time for fish populations to recover.
We have turned to fish farming – or aquaculture – as a strategy to meet the growing demand for seafood. Aquaculture is exactly what it sounds like – farming fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants, algae and other organisms – under controlled conditions. Combined with agriculture, it improves livelihoods, as well as alleviating food shortages for small-scale farmers. However, as current methods of fish farming often involve crowded, tethered pens with poor water circulation, disease is spread and huge amounts of environmental stress are put on of surrounding waterways.
Steve Page at Ocean Farm Technologies, based in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, came up with a solution – a unique containment for marine aquaculture, tethered offshore. The Aquapod is inspired by naturally occurring schools of fish and the ‘geodesic dome’, North American architect Buckminster Fuller’s spherical shell structures.
Recognised by the aquaculture industry for its innovative technology development in the open ocean for more than ten years, Ocean Farm Technologies developed, built and marketed the unique containment system. Launched in 2015 with the merger of OceanSpar and Ocean Farm Technologies, today InnovaSea is on a mission to create the next generation of products for the open-ocean fish farming industry.
The Aquapod’s unique ability to change location with the ocean’s current creates less stress on surrounding environments and reduces overcrowding as the fish are free to move in the same way they would in the wild. The fact they are located at least a mile out at sea in deep water means the fish are as wild as they could possibly be, whilst still being farmed – a true free range fish.
With so much demand for fish, are Aquapods the future of fish farming?
AtlasRead: Want to know more about aquaculture? We talk to Aquawoman Conchita Milburn about sustainable fish farming, being a woman in a fishy world – and why catfish are so hardcore.
Gaby is a wildlife documentary producer with broadcast credits on BBC, National Geographic, Discovery and PBS.
David Kelly, CEO and CTO, InnovaSea.