Vellela Project

(By Michael Wu)

3/4 of the world’s fish stocks are being harvested faster than they can be reproduced.  A massive threat to marine life, this fact is particularly scary considering the ocean is the #1 source of protein for 1 billion people in the world. But all of this fish munching from around the world affects us in one way or another. The problem is, 90% of all the big fish are gone in the ocean, including tuna, swordfish, and sharks. Large fish, such as tuna are 50% smaller because of over-fishing. And scientists predict that by the year 2050 all fish — salmon, tuna, even sardines — will be gone.  An example of this is the Hoki fish, found in your McDonald’s fish sandwiches. Currently having large disputes over the sustainability of this fish, many people are wondering what would soon replace the Hoki as the next major white fish meat. If no measures are taken, by the year 2050 we’ll have no more fish left to eat, except for jellyfish. Now who wants to live in a horrible world like that?


That’s why Kampachi Farms has taken matters into their own hands. Understanding that over fishing is a problem, and fixing it is an important step to saving the ocean, they designed a new revolutionary way to raise fish in an easy and sustainable way. Located in Hawaii and led by some of the brightest scientists from Kampachi Farms, they started a marine project called The Vellela Project. By designing a free floating aquatic pod, Kampachi has built a pod able to float around the Hawaiian currents. It allows fish to grow naturally in a better and natural way unlike before. By installing a GPS device onto the corners of the pod, they are able to keep track of the path of the pod, and occasionally make corrections to the pod if it goes off course. Having a enclosed area, exposed to the real ocean currents and water allows the fish to grow in a safe environment, fast and better than before. While some fish pods simply sit in the water tethered to a pier, this one is different. Connected to a boat, able to feed and steer the fish, the Aquapod provides an all encompassing lifestyle for the fish.


While some people critique the use of caged fishing. The Aquapod sidesteps this problem. The claim is, that caged fish release too much waste, too concentrated, which can be harmful. If non-native species are raised there, and escape, they can cause considerable harm, such as the Zebra Mussels and the Asian Carp. Catching other fish in order to feed them may cause population issues. And catching wild fish comes with many of their own drawbacks and issues. So the solution? The Aquapod manages to avoid all of these issues. The concentrated fish waste is dispersed over a large area of ocean by drifting far distances. Hazardous chemicals are not used in this project because the brass mesh resists bio-fouling. Fish feed are replaced with substitutes such as soy. The fish being raised are native to Hawaiian Islands (Almaco Jack) as to preserve biodiversity.  However, the Aquapod hasn’t gone uncontested. Some environmental groups are concerned that a larger amount of Aquapods in a one area could cause problems, when one could not.


Think that this is a relatively simple and useless design? Well TIME magazine certainly did not. Named as one of the best inventions of 2012, TIME recognized the need for such an invention and design. Though some might argue that this was a too simple to be named as one of the best inventions of 2012, it was the idea and initiative that won them this. Kampachi Farms realized the very real danger of over fishing, and took measure to ensure the safety of the future generations of fish.

Posted in Current Engineering News