Tour the Fish Farm Hidden in a Hong Kong High-Rise

Illustration for article titled Tour the Fish Farm Hidden in a Hong Kong High-Rise

In cities as crowded as Hong Kong, there is nowhere to go but up up up—even for fish. So, on the fifteenth floor of a high-rise, is a mini ocean in the sky: 80,000 liters of salt water where young groupers swim under cool, blue light. Could this be the future of urban farming?

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While eighty percent of fish in Hong Kong already come from farms, most aquaculture still takes place in the sea—or at least on ground level. But OceanEthix's farm in the sky raises fish close to the restaurants that buy them live. "If you like, this is rooftop farming on steroids," the firm's managing director Lloyd Moskalik said to BBC.

Illustration for article titled Tour the Fish Farm Hidden in a Hong Kong High-Rise
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The Hong Kong farm is comprised of eleven large plastic tanks filled with salt water. A blue glow imitates the light of the ocean depths. Here, groupers spend a year of lives growing big enough to be eaten. Moskalik says he sells 2,000 tons of the fish a year, netting up to $100 per pound. Building this indoor ocean, of course, only makes economic sense when the demand for fish is so high.

As overfishing has depleted the oceans, aquaculture has been increasingly touted as the answer to our growing appetite for seafood. OceanEthix also sells its technology to other companies setting up indoor fish farms across Asia. Perhaps one could even imagine a (nearly) self-sustaining skyscraper in the future—a vertical ecosystem, if you will, with rooftop beehives, underground farms, and a fish pool on the fifteenth floor. [BBC, Time]

Images via video from Time

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"Then they pump that into shrimp tanks, and grow a lot of shrimp. Shrimp grow real fast in warm water. Then they pump it through pipes in the concrete, up here, to keep this place warm. That's what this level was for, to grow `ponic amaranth, lettuce, things like that. Then they pump it out into the catfish tanks, and algae eat the shrimp shit. Catfish eat the algae, and it all goes around again. Or anyway, that was the idea. Chances are they didn't figure anybody'd go up on the roof and kick those Darrieus rotors over to make room for a mosque, and they didn't figure a lot of other changes either. So we wound up with this space. But you can still get you some damned good shrimp in the Projects. . . . Catfish, too"

- William Gibson - Count Zero, 1986