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Alyssa Joyce, Simon Goddek, Benz Kotzen, and Sven Wuertz

Abstract Hydroponics initially developed in arid regions in response to freshwater shortages, while in areas with poor soil, it was viewed as an opportunity to increase productivity with fewer fertilizer inputs. In the 1950s, recirculating aquaculture also emerged in response to similar water limitations in arid regions in order to make better use of available water resources and better contain wastes. However, disposal of sludge from such systems remained problematic, thus leading to the advent of aquaponics, wherein the recycling of nutrients produced by fish as fertilizer for plants proved to be an innovative solution to waste discharge that also had economic advantages by producing a second marketable product. Aquaponics was also shown to be an adaptable and cost-effective technology given that farms could be situated in areas that are otherwise unsuitable for agriculture, for instance, on rooftops and on unused, derelict factory sites. A wide range of cost savings could be achieved through strategic placement of aquaponics sites to reduce land acquisition costs, and by also allowing farming closer to suburban and urban areas, thus reducing transportation costs to markets and hence also the fossil fuel and COsub2/sub footprints of production.

Keywords Aquaponics · Sustainable agriculture · Eutrophication · Soil degradation · Nutrient cycling


A. Joyce

Department of Marine Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden e-mail:

S. Goddek

Mathematical and Statistical Methods (Biometris), Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

B. Kotzen

School of Design, University of Greenwich, London, UK

S. Wuertz

Department Ecophysiology and Aquaculture, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Biology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany

© The Author(s) 2019 19

S. Goddek et al. (eds.), Aquaponics Food Production Systems,


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