"We'll be eating more sea vegetables"

"The public has an increasingly strong interest in better sources of information about where their food comes from. With that will come more niche food resources and local food production options. We are looking at ways we can begin to produce seafood in the United States that meets our environmental concerns but provides local food at the same time," predicts Kevan Main, manager for the marine and freshwater aquaculture research program at Mote Aquaculture Research Park in Sarasota County.

"An integrated aquaculture system is a food-production system where you have linked together multiple products that essentially feed off of each other: You feed your fish and then the fish feed the next component down the food chain.

"Most of my work has been focused on systems with fish and plants like sea asparagus and sea purslane. There’s huge potential with seaweeds. Many of my colleagues overseas have been working on incorporating seaweeds because they are huge nitrogen users (drawing down levels of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus in ocean water). It’s not a big product yet here, but it will increase as time goes on.

"I’m concerned about the future for traditional vegetables. The key will be adapting some of these products to higher salinity conditions so that they can grow in the ocean. They already have salt-tolerant radishes and tomatoes, so the key is going to be to get the tolerance up to a higher level of salinity, to about half the strength of sea water."

Read more predictions on the future of food at TBO (Laura Reiley)

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