Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
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Visit NELHA in Kona, Hawaii, where energy conscience fish pools make the process of growing fish profitable and Eco Friendly.
Tags:Visit the NELHA Center in Kona,Eco Friendly Fish Farms,Fish Farming Technology. Hawaii Eco Friendly Tech,Kona Hawaii,Kona Tourist Attractions,Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority,NEHLA Kona,What to do in Kona,bennett watt
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Visit the Island of O'ahu in Hawaii
Male 1: Just outside Kailua-Kona, near the airport, a unique idea that many have described as a doorway to the future.
Male 2: This ground was originally owned by the king back in the days of Kamehameha. It covered what was considered the best fish ponds or fish farms if you want to look at them that way in today’s language in all of Hawaii. They were overrun by a volcanic eruption from Hualalai in the early 1800’s and now with the re-establishment of aquaculture here as one of the tunic industries, we’re doing like what the Hawaiians did in the same place hopefully using similar techniques that benefit the environment and benefit mankind.
Secretary Thomas was here about a month and a half ago and pointed that out that what some lieutenants here are doing. He’s going to lead United States into a new era of aquaculture. Produce our imports of fish, shellfish, and things like that and the neat thing is none of them could do it or be here without the facilities that we have to supply the surface water and the deep water. It’s totally unique anywhere in the world. There’s no other place like this where you could have the cold, deep, aqua green sea water and you can mix it with the warm surface water and you can get any temperature you want for growing you fish.
Male 1: They’re growing these fish in British Columbia in net pens and in the net pens in the ocean you have to take whatever temperature mother nature gives you, so in the winter time, colder, in the summertime, higher. The optimum temperature for growing these fish is probably 12 to 13 degrees centigrade which is say, 54 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and we can do that easily by combining the cold water and the warm water and just by turning it down. To do this on a land a based facility back in British Columbia or Washington State, you would either have to use chillers in the summertime to cool the temperature down or heaters in the winter to bring it up to the right temperature.
Male 2: You’re at Pacific plain tonics, the famous home of reef fishes to be cultured and distributed around the world for people’s home aquariums. What I’ve got is the beginning of that farm. The kind of fishes that I’m doing, they’re not endangered wipe out because each fish can produce a zillion babies. But, I can have some impact, I hope. Hopefully, if I can get producing lots of these fish, maybe not so many will be removed from the reef. I don’t see myself replacing every single collector, fish collector. I think fishing and collecting is natural way of life, so I’m not competing directly.
I’m actually selling my fish to the collectors because they’ve already got the marketing and the distribution set-up, so I’m just a biologist. I don’t want to have to do that.
Female 1: Seahorses are magical. They are enchanting. They have extraordinary biology. The male actually gets pregnant. How weird is that? The seahorse has been rated the sixth most popular animal in the world according to Discovery channel. The seahorse was once found in every ocean of the world from 30 feet down to about a hundred feet. Today, the seahorse is facing extinction. It’s virtually gone in all our oceans around the world. Believe it or not, about one-million per year were taken out of the ocean for pets.
Another seahorses dies very quickly in a home environment is because they only know how to eat live shrimp which is found in ocean, so it’s kind of hard to find live shrimp on O'ahu to feed your seahorse. My husband and myself came here in 1998 and started Ocean Rider, The first seahorse farm in the world and our idea was to provide the highest with the equal friendly choice of a farm-raised seahorse over the wild caught hoping to change the numbers a little bit.
We thought we could produce a seahorse that would be very friendly, very colorful and live and it turns out that we were right, but what we have done here is help develop a technology that is allowing us and other cultures to culture animals that we could never culture before. Basically today, with this technology that we used here, we can apply it to the culture of most ornamental fish and food fish found in oceans today, so although scientists who believe our ocean’s about to collapse, there is a solution and aquaculture will provide that solution.
Male 3: We are going to go up and see a sustainable open ocean fish pond that grows delicious, healthy, sustainable found Kona Kampachi. It’s one of the healthiest fish on the planet and we raise it out here in water over 200 feet deep but we produce a whole of that fish in the hatchery. It’s the real key to sustainability. That means that we’re not taking fish from the ocean to start our farm so the almost half a million fish a week put out into the ocean so far. The fish farm offshore, they are all submersible cages where in water’s over 200 feet deep, the top of the cages is 30 feet below the surface of the water. That is a submersible net pen.
Male 4; The net pens work like a submarine as we blow air into that central spar in the net pens that displaces the water that makes the net pen lighter when it raises up. So the internal net that we put in there when we’re harvesting the fish lifts up and sucks the crowd of fish into the bottom of the cone of the nose. And then we pump them straight out of the net pen, straight into the ice brine. So the tropical fish that’s coming out of the 26 or 27 degrees centigrade that hit that ice brine. That I’ll kick twice and then they go to sleep.
This here’s the hatchery, the actual hatchery tanks here where the eggs come across and then they’ll hatch out in here and this is where we will be feeding the live baits of the first months of their life and the live pieces of plankton that we feed to them in, it’s really critical when nutritional value of that live feeds. That’s a lot of what the intellectual property worked—the technologies that we’ve developed here is to produce exactly the right kinds of zoo planktons for the fishing that a lot of people do improves in nutrition to the improvement of survival rate.
After those fishes, we have another week. Those fish that Jennica showed you there in the beaker, they’ll be moved to cross through the nursery. Because they control the feed every step of the way from hatch all the way through the harvest, we’re able to control the health of the animal and then how that impacts human from the consumer or the customer, and so, these cultured fish here that have no detectable mercury, no other detectable environmental contaminants, organic pollutants and they’re really high, in fact they don’t know the 30% in fat.
That’s what makes them such delicious sashimi and it’s also what makes so helpful for you because they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and they are all the right kinds of fat beneath the heart health, for brain health promotional development. They’re incredibly healthy themselves. They are also incredibly healthy for us to eat.
Male 1: We’re at the Hawaii Gateway Interview Center at Nelha and this is a really special place. It’s one of a kind in the world. It’s the only platinum lids-rated building that uses deep ocean water to cool itself and uses a hot air space to make cold air rise. If you can imagine that it’s a fun puzzler for the younger kids. The spot where we are in right now is the latest space of energy research here at Natural Energy lab.
This particular building it will never consume more energy than it actually produces so, that’s quite unique and it makes its own source of fresh water. It makes out 70 gallons of freshwater a day. So, as the air is drawn through the heated exchanger. It goes under the building and into a big airspace that is under the floor. The floor is elevated off of a concrete slab and that air is drawn up into the room and makes the room nice and cold. It’s 12 to 15 complete air exchanges in an hour.