"In October 2011, we have created the second plant in a warehouse in Camerano, in the Ancona province, with the objective of taking aquaponics even to those places that seemed unsuitable to cultivate vegetables and fish. In 2013, we started collaborating with Acquacoltura Italia Srl to create tutorial and display plants in Osimo, in the Ancona province."
Aquaponics are a sustainable innovative production process that combines aquaculture - the breeding of fish and shellfish - with hydroponic cultivation. In short, the water of the tank where fish or shrimps are cultivated is then used to irrigate special growing beds that have no soil or fertilizers and where the plants or the seeds are placed.
The aquaponics cycle.
The water is rich in nutrients that come from the metabolism of the animals and from the food, which can be used by plants for their development thanks to the biochemical action of some micro-organisms that are placed in growing beds. This way, substances that would otherwise go to waste are transformed in important elements that can be absorbed by the roots of plants.
Water then goes back to the tanks purified. The fact that the cycle is repeated everyday means that plants get the right nutrients continuously and that the animals live in the best environment possible.
Thanks to the research started thirty years ago first in the US and then in Australia, it is now possible to produce freshwater shrimp and edible fish while at the same time growing tomatoes, courgettes, basil and salad without soil or a consistent source of water. Effective systems of water recirculation work together with vegetable bio-filtering apparatuses in a natural regime.
Aquaponic systems have been created in the past few years in the US, Canada, Mexico, Germany and in Great Britain, whereas other countries like China and Thailand, which already operate in the aquaculture sector, were interested in this sustainable and efficient way to produce edible fish, shrimp and vegetables. In Japan, aquaponic systems have been installed in the basement of some skyscrapers or in some organic restaurants providing fresh local food, whereas in the US real aquaponic farms were created.
In 2012, the Baniyas Center was inaugurated in the Arab Emirates, the biggest aquaponic plant that can produce up to 200 tons of fish and 300,000 lettuce heads per year, reducing the need for imports and providing more food to the country.
An aquaponic bed.