Calling all Fish Pond Managers!

Dear Fish Pond Managers,

This blog is about growing big fish then harvesting them to prevent the growth of algae.  Sounds far-fetched? Well, our company is science based. There are numerous research projects (see our Case Studies here) on BioHaven Floating Islands and fish, many from Montana State University’s Center for Biofilm Engineering and NIWA in New Zealand. Mississippi State University too. We have built up a unique database around the relationship between BioHaven floating islands and fisheries enhancement.  We are seeing extremely exciting prospects develop.  

We believe that before long, fishing will be accepted as the primary means to transition excess non-point source nutrients out of impaired water.

For perspective, estimates to do this the conventional way run to over 150 billion dollars in expenses, across the U.S., over the next decade.

But, you might be thinking: harvesting fish to solve a problem of this scale is a grandiose vision. How can harvesting fish, with only one percent live-weight phosphorus, make a difference? Is it a realistic way to harvest the tonnes of phosphorus and nitrogen that cause so many U.S. lakes to choke up with algae? The answer is both short and compelling. Yes! By biomimicking nature, floating islands provide the “concentrated wetland effect” that moves nutrients up the food chain. Floating islands provide the surface area for growing periphyton, a natural food source, while nutrients in the water provide the “fertilizer”. Fish eat the periphyton. The last step is to harvest the fish in order to remove the periphyton and fish and all their nutrients from the system – permanently.

Where This is Happening

Please review these short examples:

Chippewa Falls Flowage
  1. Chippewa Flowage in northern Wisconsin, home of the world record muskellunge, is also home to dozens of naturally-occurring floating islands. BioHaven Floating Islands use these island embodiments as nature’s model. To this day the flowage is a Class A fishery, producing huge volumes of a wide variety of fish, including musky, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, sunfish and more. During an informal fisherman survey three years ago, we interviewed nine boats of fishermen. Seven of the nine were fishing the perimeter of natural floating islands. The other two were trolling or drifting for walleye. That day, I personally landed thirty-four largemouth bass, almost all of which were caught on plastic baits cast to the edge of the peat based floating islands. Chippewa Falls flowage is a world class fishery that exemplifies the long-term potential of floating islands to enhance a fishery. Fisherman will gravitate to floating islands because that is where fish the thrive.

Billings, MT
  1. Fish Fry Lake is located outside of Billings, Montana. The lake is fed by agricultural run-off. Prior to introducing floating islands, the water was anoxic and generated unique, colorful and probably toxic forms of cyano-bacteria. The lake was incapable of supporting a sport fishery. Today, four years later, the same lake supports wild northern yellow perch that grow as fast as perch in aquaculture systems. It also supports black crappie and Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. This lake is located at our research center, and with the help of BioHaven floating islands, we are able to maintain the demanding water quality conditions Cutthroat require. Temperatures do not reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and dissolved oxygen is maintained above 6.5 mg/liter. From June 26th through October 17th of last year, 1,928 fish were harvested from this 6.5-acre lake. The average catch rate was one fish every two minutes. Please note that, just like Chippewa Flowage, these fish are wild. They are not fed. Instead, the farm-based nutrients that would otherwise kill this water are being transitioned into fish.
Asia and Africa
  1. There is a significant body of research around brush parks for enhanced fish production. This is an age-old strategy employed in parts of Asia and Africa that utilizes brushy enclosures as a quasi-fish culture. These brush parks are remarkable in several respects. A mid-range system can generate around 14,000 pounds of fish per acre. The parks transition nutrients into fish at a ferocious rate.  BioHaven Floating islands represent a similar ability. As we develop the means by which to transition vast volumes of non-point source nutrients into fish, the potential expansion of our fishery here in the U.S. is almost unimaginable.

Recap

  • Our proposal uses nature as a model.
  • It is far less expensive than conventional approaches to fishery and water quality enhancement.
  • As you grow fish in abundance, water quality will improve.

We want to help you grow fish. We want your fish to be healthy, numerous, and good to eat. And we want your waterway to be among the most productive in the world. Along the way, we want your water to be extremely clean. Let us show you how you can become successful fish habitat managers. We very much look forward to working with you.

Bruce Kania