Feeding the projected 2050 world population of approximately nine billion will require global food production to be increased by some 70 per cent between now and then, but current land-based systems for food production cannot meet this extra demand. This problem is exacerbated by rising sea levels caused by climate change as land area reduction due to inundation and coastal erosion will have a major impact on the availability of agriculture land for food production.
Some countries have been practising aquaculture for many years.. Bren Smith, a former fisherman turned sustainable shellfish and seaweed farmer, has developed a vertical ocean farm in New York’s Long Island which uses a water column to grow a variety of species such as sugar kelp, oysters, mussels and scallops. In fact, aquaculture recently surpassed wild fishing as the primary source of protein from the ocean. However, these type of inland farms are not suitable for large-scale crop production, so instead we may need to turn to the seas for a solution. Floating Deep Farms use large vertical shafts submerged in sea water near coastal areas. The shaft is sealed at the bottom end and is covered by a dome. A variety of crops can be grown using hydroponic planters (plant roots fed with nutrient-rich water) or aeroponics (growing plants in an air or mist environment). LED units providing illumination at appropriate wavelengths to maximise photosynthesis with minimum power input replacing sunlight.
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