What Is Regenerative Ocean Farming?

August 4, 2022
min read
Holly keeNAN
Environmental journalist
Outdoors enthusiast

Regenerative Ocean Farming is beginning to take off as scientists and fisheries notice the many benefits of this alternative way of growing food.

As the human population continues to surge, food production poses more and more of a challenge. By 2050, we will need around 50% more food than we do today. 

Soil depletion, land scarcity and climate change are making the mass production of food far more of a challenge. Our soils will be unusable by 2050 if we don't see drastic changes.

So, are there alternative methods of growing food? 

an orange road in the desert

3D Ocean Farming

You might have heard of regenerative farming, but have you heard of regenerative ocean farming? 

Ocean regenerative farming mimics the diversity of ocean reefs by growing a mix of species that revive already damaged ecosystems. 

Greenwave, a project based in Denmark and the UK, has brought this idea to life. They have replicated ocean ecosystems by growing a mix of seaweeds and shellfish. Ropes of seaweed are strung across the ocean's surface, and hanging beside them are floating long lines which grow mussels, scallops, oysters and clams. 

This regenerative farming technique takes on a three-dimensional shape whereby each layer introduces a different type of organism. This type of farming creates a more diverse ecosystem that otherwise would have been barren. 

Benefits of Ocean Regenerative Farming

There are many benefits to ocean regenerative farming. The first is that it's a clean way to farm. The organisms require no input from humans, meaning there is no need for fertilisers or pesticides. The mixture of organisms leads to a resilient ecosystem that diseases won't wipe out.

Secondly, the process is regenerative. The organisms leave the area in a better condition than it was previously.  

Furthermore, seaweed is a diverse plant which has a range of different uses. Seaweed can be used as an alternative to plastic, as a fertiliser for land-grown crops and as a biofuel source. Although biofuel still emits CO2, it also absorbs co2 when it is grown.

So, what's the catch? 

The main problem that ocean regenerative farming faces are that shellfish and seaweed don't exactly make up a considerable part of the western diet. Only 3 billion people worldwide rely on fish as their primary source of protein. So switching to shellfish and seaweed will require a massive shift for the western population. 

Nevertheless, as land and soil become more scarce, your daily dose of protein might just be from shellfish. 


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