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Multi-storey fish farms could boost local yields

Locating multi-storey fish farms on rooftops, in parks or even under viaducts could become a reality if infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong has its way.

It has come up with a vertical system that needs less space than traditional farms, but can produce several times the amount of fish.

The Temasek Holdings-owned firm unveiled its floating pond concept yesterday, developed over the last four years with local fish farm Apollo Aquaculture Group.

Surbana Jurong said it has held discussions with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and JTC Corporation, but was unable to say when or if the concept would be rolled out here.

The Straits Times understands that discussions are still in their infancy stage.

But if successful, it could give local fish production a big boost, providing Singapore with a better buffer during global supply disruptions.

  • IN NUMBERS

  • 125

    Total number of fish farms in Singapore.

    4,851

    Tonnes of fish produced by all the farms last year.

    7

    Number of land-based fish farms.

Of the 125 fish farms here, seven are land-based.

Farms here produced 4,851 tonnes of fish last year, accounting for about 10 per cent of fish consumed in Singapore.

Apollo Aquaculture Group has been operating a three-storey prototype since last year at its farm in Lim Chu Kang.

The farm, which also involved Surbana Jurong, comes with six ponds - two on each level. Each pond occupies 135 sq m and can hold about 22,000 fish fry.

Increasing this to six storeys or more could potentially yield almost 5,000 tonnes of fish per year, six times more than a conventional fish farm utilising the same land space.

Ms Tan Yok Joo, Surbana Jurong's deputy director of architecture, said just 50ha to 60ha of land would be needed to meet all of Singapore's current fish demand of 86,352 tonnes, if the floating pond concept is used.

Surbana plans to improve on the prototype by introducing self-sustainable features such as solar panels to harness energy from the sun.

Rainwater will also be collected and wastewater from fish tanks purified to be reused.

Leftover nutrients from the purification process will then be used as fish feed.

The nutrients could also be used to grow aquatic plants and leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce, said Ms Tan.

Apollo Aquaculture Group will be tendering for a plot of land in Neo Tiew Crescent and will test the floating pond concept there if its bid is successful.