Aquaculture for all

New Fish Hatchery Reduces Toxins, Conserves Water

Water quality Sustainability Hatcheries +5 more

CANADA - An Ontario resident has created fish hatchery technology that can, among other things, produce healthy fish while conserving water and reducing pollution that is typically dumped into waterways in more traditional methods, writes Mark Anderson.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

Despite using one-tenth of the groundwater as is used by government hatcheries, John Devine's system has long been ignored and suppressed by those in big corporate media and government, much to the detriment of human health, the food supply and the economy, said Mr Anderson, AmericanFreePress.

At a time when droughts have been particularly severe, typical "open" (water in, water out), traditional fish hatcheries extract a whopping 2K gallons of water per minute from aquifers.

"Hatcheries need clean water; you cannot use surface water," said Mr Devine. This is largely due to the fact that surface water is contaminated with man-made or naturally occurring pollutants.

But the closed-loop system used by Mr Devine, along with his son, Mark, draws water from the aquifer at a much slower rate, since 90 per cent of what is taken in is carefully cleaned and recycled back to the fish, so they can continue to thrive.

"The water goes through a settling system where the water slows down and the 'fish solids' fall to the bottom," Mr Devine said. These solids are the fish excretions (bodily waste). The outcome: The oxygen in the water is replenished, the ammonia from the fish excretions is stripped, the solids are removed as noted, and any remaining harmful bacteria are killed. Bio-filters and ultraviolet technology are incorporated to helpaccomplish this overall result.

The 10 per cent of fresh water needed from the aquifer is "make-up" water to offset the mere 10 per cent that is discharged into the environment, having been cleaned to the point that the outside environment will be unaffected.

Mr Devine, who worked for Canada's Ministry of Natural Resources, noted that while some "recycling" hatcheries clean the water before discharging it, their treatments do not lessen aquifer impact. Typical open systems that dump raw discharge into the environment pose a major hazard.

"Every Ontario government fish hatchery has a polluting factor of (that is, affecting) 20K people," Mr Devine said, referring to an assessment by biologist Gary Chapman, formerly with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources.

Mr Devine left his government post in 1985, networked with others, improved the closed-loop technology and established a business called Fisherman's Cove. But Canadian authorities colluded with tribal interests who wanted to build a new facility called Casino Rama. The wide highway paved expressly for the new casino vivisected Mr Devine's land and destroyed the business.

Ever since, Devine has been laboring against often-hostile corporate, government and media forces to educate the public about this water technology-which could be improved upon even more to bring much healthier fishes to dinner plates, while drastically reducing both groundwater usage and the discharge of foul pollutants into the environment.

Furthermore, widely used baitfishes, such as minnows, could be raised in such closed-loop fish farms instead of being massively extracted from the environment by wholesalers and stored in holding systems with a high mortality rate, which means netting even more baitfishes to sell to recreational fishermen.

The government, said Mr Devine, hatches game-fish to put into the lakes and rivers-instead of responsibly farming baitfish, populating the waters with them and allowing existing gamefish populations to find their natural balance. Meanwhile, gamefish raised in government farms are often fed with baitfish netted en masse from the oceans-all of which risks causing grave imbalances, shortages of fish (a major human protein source) and sharp price increases.

"To make a pound of [edible] fish, you need one and one-quarter pounds of baitfish," Devine said.

Create an account now to keep reading

It'll only take a second and we'll take you right back to what you were reading. The best part? It's free.

Already have an account? Sign in here