UNH Finishes Aquaponic Research Facility For Farming Fish and Produce Under One Roof

Oct 16, 2018

Fish provide the nutrients for hydroponic crops. UNH is using tilapia, brown trout, and rainbow trout.
Credit Todd Guerdat/UNH

UNH has announced the completion of a two-year project to build an aquaponic research facility in Madbury.

The three aquaponic greenhouses will allow researchers to grow crops like lettuce from the nutrient-rich wastewater that comes from fish farming.

"The application of the waste as a resource is a new concept for aquaculture, especially in the United States,” says UNH agricultural engineering professor Dr. Todd Guerdat, who heads up the project at the Kingman Research Farm.

“And this is an opportunity to monetize it, much like any other animal ag industry does."

Guerdat says aquaponic farmers are not unheard of in New Hampshire. For one, there’s Victory Aquaponics in Londonderry.  

"But not many people have been able to really make a successful go of it, because the business models are based off of a single design, essentially, that's not really scalable," Guerdat says.

Guerdat and his team of student researchers - who he says are integral to the project’s success - will test new methods that could be more attractive to industry.

The project is made possible in part thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the N.H. Sea Grant.

The goal is to produce 1,000 heads of lettuce a week and 100 pounds of fish a month.

As for the how the farmed fish taste? Guerdat says one local restaurateur in Exeter called the rainbow trout "fantastic."