Countries need to find safe production systems that can provide access to good protein sources. Fish is a nutritious food source, however, in urban settings or landlocked regions availability of fresh fish is often limited. Vertically integrated urban aquaculture systems and floating aquaponic farms are examples of innovations that can address this challenge. Aquaponics combines aquaculture, growing aquatic animals in controlled conditions, and hydroponics, growing plants without soil. The plants and fish are grown in the same tank and have a symbiotic relationship. The vegetables receive nutrients and beneficial bacteria from the fish waste, and the plants clean the water, which cycles back to the fish. The beneficial bacteria from the fish converts the waste into nutrients the plants can use to grow. People can create aquaponic systems in their homes or they can be scaled up to the commercial level.
In urban areas with limited fertile soil, aquaponics provides nutrient-dense food to people and uses less water than traditional methods of agriculture.
Unused urban spaces that are unfit for other purposes could be used to house vertical urban aquaculture systems. Urban aquaculture systems could also be built in containers. Feed would be processed in situ or nearby. Urban organic market waste or household waste can be used to upcycle into fish feed. Also systems which combine aquaculture (e.g. production of fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) is a possible solution. Shrimp Paddy Culture (SPC), is another solution suitable in more rural environments, when facing salt water intrusion. SPC seeks to provide rural opportunities for the agricultural sector to mitigate urban migration and poverty.