Preserving the Environment

How Catfish Can Help Solve California’s Water Woes

February 18, 2014
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How Catfish Can Help Solve California’s Water Woes
Aquaponics: The Answer to California's Drought? Bloomberg News via YouTube
No dirt, no pesticides and 90 percent less water. Why aquaponics could be the future of farming, even if it sounds a little fishy.

At Ouroboros Farms in Pescadero, Calif., you will find vegetables growing year round thanks to surprising set of helpers — catfish. These aquatic farmers are part of Ouroboros’ aquaponics system that’s becoming an answer to California’s parched farms, Bloomberg News reports.

California’s record-breaking drought necessitates the need for new ways to grow food. Although it’s expensive to set up (the Ouroboros system cost $60,000), aquaponics saves money in the long run, and more importantly, the system conserves our precious natural resources. Aquaponics actually uses up to 90 percent less water than traditional farming. Another beauty of aquaponics is that less land is used and it can be set up indoors. This means urban environments can have access to fresh, organic produce without having it shipped from elsewhere in the country.

MORE: How One City Is Stepping Up to Help Solve Our Fresh Water Worries

You can check out the video above to see how aquaponics replicates the way plants and animals work together in nature. As the catfish create waste, the plants suck it up as nutrients; no soil, pesticides or other toxins required. These fish are also sold as a source of protein so nothing goes to waste. Now that sounds like a tasty — and sustainable — solution.

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