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Embracing New Technology Crucial for Aquaculture Sustainability

16 September 2016, at 1:00am

SINGAPORE - Embracing new technologies is crucial to ensuring the continued sustainability of fish farms in Singapore, said Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon.

Dr Koon said this is especially important in light of new challenges brought about by climate change and declining wild fish stocks around the world, reports ChannelNewsAsia.

He cited the example of algae blooms and how local fish farmers have been embracing new technologies like closed containment aquaculture systems and land-based systems used by local fish farms to control water conditions.

About 200 aquaculture experts, industry professionals and students were gathered at Republic Polytechnic's Aquaculture Industry Engagement Day to discuss global trends, emerging technologies and sustainable practices for future industry needs.

Some experts say land-based farming, that has been successful in countries like Israel, could be a viable option for Singapore, along with contained sea-based farming.

"Moving on land is one area we can seriously explore,” said Chan Wei Loong, Programme Chair for the Diploma in Marine Science and Aquaculture at Republic Polytechnic.

“With technology, for example, you stack them up almost like a 'condominium' for fishes. You stack them up high-rise and you're able to increase their volume in a box-sized area."

To keep the industry sustainable and competitive, Dr Koh stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between research institutions and fish farms, encouraging farmers to open their minds to new technologies, as well as attracting young talent to the aquaculture industry.

"Without young fish farmers to take over, the industry will inevitably decline,” he said. “To attract today's young, we must change not just the image of the aquaculture sector, but also the nature of the work in the sector.”

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