💸 4 Stocks & investments opportunities part of the 🐟 Aquaculture Revolution 🍃 — The Adaptive Economy.
While everyone is looking at BTC, there might be some industries worth considering with higher returns next 10 years. Here is what makes me rethink investing and that might inspire you too.
About 50 years ago, a number of technologies came about and would revolutionize our world. Everything from automobiles to plastics, to electronics to satellites: All this sweet technology worked together to improve the lives of billions of people around the world and brought what we call the modern age, which I'll be honest: Having experienced it firsthand, I can say is pretty great. We all got to live in a time where distances could be covered quickly, disposable products could be made cheaply, and best of all, we got to read knowledge from blog posts like this one, on a personal computer, which, as you are reading, is receiving information from outer space.
There's no denying it. That's awesome. But there's also isn't the full story something we don't talk about nearly as much as these flashy new machines but was nevertheless an equal part in shaping the world we know today is how technology impacted agriculture, and will again.
The problem of limited land space
Prior to the dawn of the 20th century, most of the world's food was produced by small local farmers growing only what the native soil and climate would permit, usually with the purpose of only feeding themselves and their families. Not only was this how most people got their food, but this was also how most people live their lives. That is until a multitude of recently developed practices and techniques such as complex irrigation systems, the industrial manufacturing of chemical fertilizers, and widespread commercial pesticide use propelled food production much further than ever before. And in doing so, generating for the first time in human history, worldwide food surpluses what it was actually grown, swapped out for these same perfectly engineered high yield species, leaving many farms to turn to single crop monocultures, pushing productivity up in exchange for an increased burden on the farmland.
Soon these advanced farming practices made their way from where they were pioneered in places like the United States and Europe into the developing nations of the world jump, starting in an even greater wave of global urbanization and bringing the percentage of people employed by agriculture from 44% in 1991, all the way down to 26% and fooling in currents times this increase in productivity Despite a substantial decrease in total, people working in agriculture granted more people access to secure sources of food than ever before, and as a result, ushered in a new era of stability and prosperity around the world. For all the positive change that has come about because of these advances, we call this the green Revolution, and while in a lot of ways this did the world a lot of good. There are today no perfect solutions to a problem as complex as feeding 7.8 billion people.
Mass irrigation means that now 70% of our freshwater goes to agriculture, making places like California vulnerable to water insecurity, Despite there being more than enough water to go around all in the name of sustaining the state's agricultural economy, the process of manufacturing nitrogen for fertilizers is a fossil fuel, intensive to say the least, and extracting fuss for us. The other important ingredients and fertilizers rely on a limited and rapidly declining supply: pesticides. Well, they don't just kill pests, but rather anything that comes into contact with them and through leaking into their surroundings has decimated what natural environments there are left surrounding farmlands. And now approximately 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and on top of that, flat land is limited. For starters, only 29% of the earth's surface being land, and of that 10% is under glaciers or ice and 19% is utterly barren desert or tundra, leaving only 71% of the land on Earth is habitable, of this 50%, or so of all the habitable land on earth is dedicated to agriculture, with the remainder split 37% into forests, 11% shrub or grasslands, 1% is freshwater areas like lakes and all of our cities and urban environments fit into just over 1% as well.
In a matter of fact, of this agricultural land space, 77% is dedicated to the raising of livestock while only 23% is used to grow actual crops. If that doesn't strike you as a gross misuse of land… If we look at where our calories come from meat products only supply us with 18% of our daily calories on average, Of course, Well, plants provide us with 82% of what we eat. Even if we look at where we get our protein from still less than half only 37% of our protein comes from actually, plants still do the heavy lifting here supplying us with 63%. What does shows us is that growing livestock is an incredibly inefficient use of land and altogether. This makes traditional land-based agriculture the main culprit in the global degradation of natural environments. On top of all of this, the human population is still growing and will continue to grow until 2100 by the earliest. By then the Earth could host a population of over 11 billion and as more people climb into the middle class, the demand for protein products is only going to expand. At this rate, global agriculture is going to need to increase production by up to 70% over the next century at the supply is to meet demand. What all this means is that in order to meet the growing needs of people around the world without further degrading our environment, we're going to need another big advancement in agriculture, one that's more efficient. That's more ecologically friendly and most important, that's actually possible so while some put their faith in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), others in insect agriculture (Erk), and the really naive (Like me) investing in vertical farms. None of these solutions tackle the real issue at hand: Both land and freshwater are limited.
Time to go to Mars? Mhh, not for me yet so let’s see what we can do on Earth.
The Blue Revolution
Let me tell you something, there is one place left on Earth, where not only is there essentially enough space for crops to grow, but also comes complete with an unlimited supply of water.
I am, of course, talking about the ocean, which, if used properly, could not only once again reconfigure how our food is produced but also redefines the very way of our human civilization for the next hundred years.
The paradigm shift on how we think and use our planet Ocean could operate a change that would one day be called that the Blue Revolution.
Okay. So, how exactly does water-based agriculture or aquaculture work?
The history of aquaculture stretches all the way back to 1000 B. C E. to the Zhao Dynasty in China. Here, rice farmers began introducing carp into their flooded rice paddies, the carp would eat any algae running amok and excrete poop, which, once the rice paddies were trained, would act as a fertilizer. This sort of polyculture from ingenious Chinese farmers could grow both livestock and crops on the same plot of land without degrading it or sacrificing fertility.
Fast forward a couple of 1000 years and China continues to lead the way in aquaculture, only now the techniques have advanced far beyond flooded rice paddies and carp. The first aquaculture has expanded into four distinct two realms, land-based freshwater, coastal, and, most recently, deep ocean. The pattern to see here is that with each successive step farming operations have moved further and further away from human dwellings. The reason for this is simple: when done in such concentrated environments, aquaculture can produce waste products hazardous to both the natural environment and humans alike. So not only do these practices lead to habitat degradation by taking up space, where other need aquatic species to prefer to live and produce waste, which can leak into surrounding waters and cause local eutrophication. But on the whole, they appear no better at supporting a sustainable relationship between man and nature than your more traditional farming practices. But the further we move away from these operations, the more these negative impacts are mitigated.
This leads me to the true core of the Blue Revolution: Deep Ocean agriculture. Basically, let's take our farms and push them somewhere else.
Here is a map showing where oceans are deserts.
What's shown is the average net primary productivity or, in other words, where foundational microscopic organisms like fishes, or planktons are concentrated within the ocean. The dark purple to blue areas represents near-zero levels of bio productivity while the red to green shows where fishes and plankton grow in abundance.
This map reveals two important facts about the ocean: First since vital plankton floating in the ocean water are directly dependent on obtaining nutrients from their surroundings, this map by extension shows us where nutrients are present and are not present in the ocean. Second, since primary producers (plankton) constitute the foundation of every ecosystem on Earth, we can take this to mean that where we find greater levels of production, that's consequently where ecosystem complexity and life diversity reside.
Where the primary productivity of plankton is low, there are very few species and very little life in general together. What this shows us is that due to the way nutrients are distributed throughout the ocean, most aquatic life is concentrated in near land. While the vast majority of the ocean remains a virtually lifeless and unproductive faith, oceans are deserts.
With practically no natural environments affected by cultivating these empty spaces, all of a sudden, the open ocean becomes the best possible option mass for agriculture. There's over 300 million square kilometers of unclaimed space with absolutely no problems with water access and, most importantly, being thousands of miles away from the nearest major marine ecosystems poses a minimal threat of environmental degradation.
On these grounds, not only could the miracle to feed 7, 8, or 11 billion of us happen: it could feed tens or even hundreds of billions of us all the while helping to ease the burden off land-based farms.
What we're capable of growing has also changed in the 3000 years since the innovation of aquaculture staying within the realm of fish. What started with carps thousands of years ago has now expanded into many other species like salmon, tilapia, and tuna, all of which require about the same set up of large, singular nets, which can hold hundreds of thousands of fish. Beyond this, however, crustaceans like shrimp or crayfish have also been domesticated, though these do a lot better herded into shallow pins on account of the fact that they don't swim but rather dwell on the seafloor.
Then we have shellfishes, which were definitely the easiest thing we ever domesticated with 100% sedentary lifestyles and eating habits that entirely rely on filter-feeding animals. Like oysters are muscles can be hung in multi-tiered farms containing several 100 individuals for occupying a very little surface area, making them the perfect livestock. The only thing that could be easier to grow than mollusks is the fourth and final major agricultural crop: Plants. And algae or seaweed start to be seriously considered for mass farming and feeding farm animals. You can explore that more in The Adaptive Economy
If you look at the food conversion ratios of common farm animals, you will find that it takes a chicken 2 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of the meat. Pigs require 4 kg to build a single kilogram. Ox and cows must take in 8 kg to produce just 1 kg of beef. Your average tropical shrimp, however, has a food conversion of only 1.8 at the shrimps are even better at 1 to 1, making them a more efficient use of feed than any other major livestock in roughly on pair with crickets. But who the hell is eating crickets. This isn't even to mention the true champions of efficiency: shellfish can build up the proteins on their own, just by taking in the microscopic fight on plankton and other organic matter suspended in ocean water, making their food conversion to ratio actually zero. Meaning? Not only is there no threat of pollution from selfish agriculture, but they can literally be grown in near sources of water as a means of cleaning water and fighting against eutrophication.
The third major advantage of aquaculture is actually an economic factor because of the lack of environmental regulations that will go on to define the 20th and early 21st century's fishing practices that have taken full advantage of wild fish stocks. So much that, in fact, 60% of the world's fisheries are already being harvested at their maximum sustainable capacity, with an additional 33% of fisheries being overfished.
Leaves just 7% of the world's fisheries not entirely exploited. Not only does this all have seriously negative environmental effects, but from a business perspective, this leaves little to no room for growth within the seafood market.
That's why wild capture fish production has basically stagnated since 1990. There's literally not enough fish in the sea to fuel any larger of a fishing industry. Aquaculture, on the other hand, is capable of growth. So as the Earth's population continues to climb in demand for all sources of food is bound to increase as well. It makes sense that Aquaculture has in recent times become a booming market on track to surpass the productive capacity of wild fishes capture.
What we're seeing now is akin to what people first began thousands of years ago, just like how primitive hunter-gatherer tribes started to transition to agriculture for a more reliable source of food through farming: Humanity has just now taken these same lessons to the ocean trading off fishing (or what's essentially fish hunting) for the more advanced practice of fish farming.
This food production stability through fish farming is part of the reason why in terms of market value aquaculture ventures have already far exceeded wild capture, because at the end of the day, what's being offered is a far more sustainable option with greater levels of control and lesser lands on uncertain nature.
Okay, I know what you're thinking now. Well, if agriculture and specifically Miracle cure are so great, why isn't it already here? What are we waiting for? And this is a good question because there's no such thing as a perfect solution. So what We've seen that deep ocean farming mitigates most of the issues associated with aquaculture. It also comes with challenges of its own.
For instance, how do you maintain and operate something as work-intensive as a fish farm? While it's it's thousands of miles out to sea? The obvious answer until recently has been that you simply couldn't this is why nearly all current aquaculture either exists on land or almost directly next to shore giving people fast access to their farms, as is necessary for all agricultural operations. But as countries like the United States, China, Norway, and the Philippines continue to invest in better systems of robotic farming automation. The deep-sea miracle cure is taking its steps towards becoming a reality.
Deep-Sea robotic aquaculture
This is why the aquaculture industry has been booming last 4 years…
The Norwegian company Salmar was the first to launch a deep-sea operation in the form of “Ocean Farm One” just three years ago in 2017 capable of managing 1.5 million fish. This single enterprise that serves as a proof of concept, showing the world of that miracle chair is not only possible but highly productive.
It's no surprise, then that China followed with their own farm “Deep Blue One” in 2019, and is now looking to expand further into the Yellow Sea.
Well, a number of ventures have been proposed off the shores of the United States. I don't think it'll shock anyone to hear that there's a number of legal issues standing in the way of miracle to development here, and this touches on what I believe to be the biggest hurdle that miracle must overcome, which isn't economic or technological, but rather the simple fact that aquaculture is hardly ever included in discussions about sustainable futures just yet.
When we talk about strategies to combat climate change and quell the ever-expanding impact humans are having on this planet. We typically only mentioned Energy solutions, renewable energy, solar, wind, even nuclear will get a mention before aquaculture or material solutions like recycling or biodegradable or even compostable products. But like I said, agriculture accounts for 25%, or a whole quarter of our greenhouse emissions, meaning that at least a quarter of our solutions to this crisis must involve rethinking how and where we grow our food. If we truly want to improve our industrial system at every opportunity then offshore agriculture has to be included in the conversation so that governments recognized that they need to make it easy for people to invest in developing strategies like this.
At the end of the day, whether or not the Blue Economy happens is up to us, investors. We know how to do it. We know that we should do it and we know that we can do it: all that's left is for us to want to do it. And that is my investment bet on aquaculture.
THE ADAPTIVE ECONOMY COMPANIES WATCH LIST:
Deep-Sea Aquaculture — Salmar is an amazing offshore fish farming company aspiring to address central issues related to sustainable growth in the aquaculture industry — More info
Aquaculture Drones Robotics — imenco (NASDAQ: BYND) is Imenco a group of companies working mainly in five main business areas: Offshore oil & gas, offshore renewables, autonomous aquaculture. — More info
Seaweed Farming — Seaweedsolutions was founded in 2009 with a vision to enable large-scale ocean farming of seaweed. The company is a seaweed cultivator business and uses technology to seize business opportunities for seaweed worldwide. — More info
To be honest, I am still researching that sector as I haven’t found many deep oceans robotic aquaculture companies just yet, you can also find more aquaculture companies on Crunchbase and let me know the interesting ones you found
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