Biologically Sustainable Systems

Last week we watched a TED Talk by Dan Barber about fish farms. He mentioned how the ocean’s wild fish stock are rapidly depleting, at a rate that cannot be recovered. But, he explained, there is hope, in fish farming. And there are ways to make fish farming, as well as other food production systems, biologically sustainable.

Veta La Palma / photo credit

In the case of Veta La Palma, a Spanish company purchased land that had previously been wetlands and turned into farmland, yielding poor results. They reversed the flow of the river running through the land to make the region into wetlands once again, stocking the naturally formed areas with different kinds of edible fish. The experiment turned out to be an astounding success, as the fish population exploded with the quality of their ecosystem. The fish farm doesn’t even have to feed the fish, unlike other fish farms. They simply have to maintain the wetlands and make sure the species at the bottom of the food chain- plankton- are properly enriched. Barber even brought up how the farmers allow predators to hunt their stock- explaining the methodology in observing the health of the predators to judge the quality of their fish.

This system is excellent- booming fish stock, high quality fish stock, all while promoting biodiversity with very minimal care. They simply let nature take course and reap the benefits of a healthy system. Meanwhile, healthy wetlands act as a filtration system, and their fish farm actually cleans the river flowing through the region, improving the community, and in a smaller part, the world.

This is the way of the future. It cannot be seen in any other way. This is a way to protect and maintain the land while feeding ourselves healthier, and better food.

Recently a similar take was done in Guatemala with the creation of a rubber farm. Rubber farms are a common thing in South America, but are usually done with African rubber trees, which are not endemic to South America and are very harmful to their environment. The introduction of natural South American rubber trees has improved the diversity of the regions they are in, while providing work to the local populaces.

photo credit

The time for changing the land as we please is over. We have overstepped our bounds- leveled mountains, destroyed forests, sculpted the very landscape to suit ourselves- and it’s affecting our resources and world. We have to be aware of the workings around us, the way nature thrives, and work with it in order to protect biodiversity… and in turn, save ourselves.



2 thoughts on “Biologically Sustainable Systems

  1. I really hope to start seeing more of these systems pop up across the globe. It definitely works, and can help solve a lot of environmental problems along the way. Hopefully farmers will come up with creative ways to implement this system with different types of livestock and produce. It’s been proven to work, so now all we need is for people to start taking initiative. Aside from the initial investment, these farms practically take care of themselves. Hopefully it will catch on sooner rather than later.

  2. The Veta La Palma fish farm seems almost too good to be true, and yet here we are. Still really cool to see such a natural and beneficial way of fish farming have such awesome results. Here’s hoping this methodology catches on in the states so we don’t have to go on a seafood boycott diet!

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