Japan: Aquarium leverages fish to grow crops

At the aquarium complex, lettuce and mint are growing beside a tank that contains three fish species, including a rosy tetra. A sign reads: “Veggies are growing with fish excrement.”

A reporter saw families looking impressed during a visit to the aquarium in an Ikebukuro skyscraper in late May. Sunshine Aquarium experts began researching aquaponics as a way to promote fish. But they soon found that whereas they knew all about aquatic species, they lacked knowledge of vegetables.

The aquarium operator spoke to Iwakura Experience, a group that has revitalized communities in the mountainous Iwakura district in Ome, western Tokyo. Onsen and farming are project areas it has helped residents with.

Two years ago, Iwakura Experience set up an aquaponics program to tap into tourism related to sustainable agriculture. It had a local farmer among its members, so the vegetable side was assured. But it had little knowledge about fish. A common acquaintance served as a matchmaker in bringing Sunshine Aquarium and Iwakura Experience together. “We received a lot of help from the aquarium before we succeeded in our project,” said Daisuke Motohashi, 44, head of Iwakura Experience.

Read more at asahi.com

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