The environmental impact of humans reaches all parts of the planet and despite the oceans covering 71% of the earth and us supposedly being land-based creatures, we have managed to have quite a negative effect there too. 

Fishing for food advanced from a rod and hand net to an industrial operation, where now huge nets are trawled through the seas trapping vast quantities fish.

According to the UN over ⅓ of the worlds assessed fisheries are currently fished beyond their biological limit. And with the large nets from industrialised fishing there is the issue of by-catch as well, with unwanted fish that are caught in the nets simply thrown away without being eaten. 

We have also turned to fish farming where the impacts of nets are reduced, but this comes with other problems as the farms are usually integrated into existing ecosystems leading to pollution and spread of disease. 

Moving away from eating fish is one solution many point towards, but this ignores the millions of people around the world rely on fishing as a way to make a living. And we can’t ignore the opportunity the oceans provide to feed us. As I already mentioned they cover 71% of the earth and with an increasing population on land, impacts from land use change will always be an issue with drought and other climate change related effects taking their toll. If done in the right way we could reduce the strain put on habitats on land for food production. 

Todays interview is with Bren Smith, a former fisherman who is pioneering a new way of producing food at sea known as 3D ocean farming. Bren believes that this new way of farming fish can not only reduce impacts from overfishing but restore degraded habitats too. He has more recently set up GreenWave, a non-profit which is bringing the technology to fisherman and creating jobs. 

I went into this interview thinking that 3D ocean farming was a potential solution to overfishing, but it was only after speaking to Bren that I realised it is much more than that and the other benefits that it could bring are exciting. From kelp storing carbon to the reduced impact of food production on land. 

All this whilst creating jobs for people with a low barrier to entry. This is something that we shouldn’t underestimate as we move away from our current practices, jobs will be lost from fishing or from fossil fuel industries and we need to make sure there are replacement jobs accessible to all. 

In this interview Bren explains his journey of redemption from fisherman to environmental visionary and a bit more about why this technology is so exciting. 

For more information on GreenWave head to: https://www.greenwave.org

To carry on the conversation head to https://www.facebook.com/groups/350453888983249

 

Rob Wreglesworth

Rob is the head writer and podcast producer for The Disruptive Environmentalist. He is on a mission to build a community of people that are passionate about solving environmental problems.
Rob Wreglesworth
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