The first crop of fish-poo tomatoes grown at the Lake District Coast Aquarium is ready to harvest!
The first crop of fish-poo tomatoes grown at the Lake District Coast Aquarium is ready to harvest.
Although the name fish-poo is not very inviting, senior aquarist Paul Sloan assures people they are no different from vegetables grown with the help of manure as fertiliser in the soil. The aquarium, in Maryport, has been growing aquaponic plants for three years.
Paul said: “Growing aquaponics is quite a big thing in places such as America and Asia. “Because we keep fish in tanks we are able to use fish poo to help grow the plants. We currently have tomatoes, strawberries and mint. Last year we also had cucumbers.
“We planted a few months ago and this week we had the first crop of tomatoes.”
“When you ask people if they want to taste them they always pull a face, but it’s no different from using manure.”
The system not only supplies nutrients to the plants from waste but it also helps purify the water.
Paul added: “It’s all part of expanding our educational offer, we want to offer more than just looking at the fish. “This gives an insight into the process that happens in nature with the nitrogen cycle.”
He added the process was an eco-friendly one and solar panels were used to power the lights used for the plants. Rain water is also used to top up the tanks.
The aquarium opened in 1997 and has 78 displays. Most of these are fish species found in the Solway. It also has a Sea Lab which, among other things, allows the public to watch the entire lifecycle of a lobster.