Written by Doug Crouch

Bill Mollison only wrote 14 chapters of his seminal book Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual yet one of those was dedicated solely to aquaculture.  This alone should lend credence to the importance of this topics integration into design work.  However if this isn’t enough Uncle Bill made the following bold statement:

“Given the same inputs in energy or nutrients, we can expect from 4-20 times the yield from water than that from the adjoining land.”

Chinampas (reconstructed Wetlands) from costal Panama, Bocas del Toro

From there he laid out several points to give the case for committing to developing this long tradition that has been apart of traditional food production systems in places like the Orient, Europe, and even Egypt.  The following are a recap of his points:

  • There is a constant supply of water where as land based systems are often limited by a lack or a sudden overabundance known as the flood and drought symptom.
  • The solubility of nutrients in water is of particular ease for plant uptake
  • quickly hop and down and the next point will be reinforced or ponder on the energy it takes for a cow to stand up after laying and chewing its cud.  water based organisms spend very little energy on movement.
  • with water as the medium a tree-dimensional abundance is perpetuated from the interaction between light, nutrients, and plants which results in numerous niches.
  • These niches can be filled by many different creatures thus reinforcing the long tradition of polyculture that aquaculture has.
  • Ever forked a garden bed or driven a tractor to till a plot of land for growing crops? None of that is necessary in aquaculture systems as cultivation energy is lessened.
  • Ponds are often multi-functional and build resilience into the overall system.

Aquaculture systems are a great addition to any aquaculture system.  Read more about the food web that comprises it on our other pages and our system examples like the tyre pond.

Written by Doug Crouch

Header art by Sien Verpoest


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