Aquaponics or the integration of aquaculture and hydroponic farming, is a sustainable food production system that is currently popular more as a hobby rather than on commercial scales. Recent increase in scientific and public interest in aquaponics and its environmental benefits supports research that addresses technical, economic, and legislative barriers to wider adoption of these systems. A successful combination of hydroponics with an aquaculture system requires high levels of knowledge and skill that are not necessarily available to all aquaponic practitioners. In this short communication, we analyzed the results of a worldwide survey of commercial aquaponic growers’ statements about their own knowledge base. Most respondents (59%) had some relevant prior knowledge. Surprisingly, many respondents (41%) claimed to have insufficient knowledge of both fish and plants in their first year of operating a commercial aquaponics system. We interpret this as a rough indication that about a third of the new aquaponic businesses are started by entrepreneurs who are not farmers and have no prior training or experience in growing fish or plants. If aquaponics is to become a more widespread commercially viable enterprise and be capable of delivering its environmental benefits, its promotion must consider the importance of prior knowledge held by entrepreneurs entering aquaponics.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Borg M, Little D, Telfer TC, Price C (2014) Scoping the potential role of aquaponics in addressing challenges posed by the food-water-energy nexus using the Maltese islands as a case-study. Acta Hortic 1034:163–168
Brewer A (2019) Barriers and incentives to engaging with aquaponics systems: empirical evidence from São Carlos, Brazil. Retrieved from https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/148828
Cerozi BS, Fitzsimmons K (2017) Phosphorus dynamics modeling and mass balance in an aquaponics system. Agric Syst 153
de Farias Lima J, Duarte SS, Bastos AM, Carvalho T (2019) Performance of an aquaponics system using constructed semi-dry wetland with lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) on treating wastewater of culture of Amazon River shrimp (Macrobrachium amazonicum). Environ Sci Pollut Res:1–13
Eatmon TD, Piso ZA, Schmitt E (2013) Perception is reality: factors influencing the adoption of commercial aquaponics in the Great Lakes region. Cases on the Diffusion and Adoption of Sustainable Development Practices
El-Essawy H, Nasr P, Sewilam H (2019) Aquaponics: a sustainable alternative to conventional agriculture in Egypt – a pilot scale investigation. Environ Sci Pollut Res:15872–15883
Gao Y, Zhao D, Yu L, Yang H (2019) Duration analysis on the adoption behavior of green control techniques. Environ Sci Pollut Res:1–9
Goddek S, Körner O (2019) A fully integrated simulation model of multi-loop aquaponics: a case study for system sizing in different environments. Agric Syst 171:143–154
Goddek S, Delaide B, Jijakli H, Thorarinsdottir R (2015) Challenges of Sustainable and Commercial Aquaponics. Sustainability 7:4199–4224
Goddek S, Espinal CCA, Delaide B, Jijakli M, Schmautz Z, Wuertz S, Keesman KKJ (2016) Navigating towards decoupled aquaponic systems: a system dynamics design Approach. Water 8(7):303
Greenfeld A, Becker N, Mcilwain J, Fotedar R, Bornman JF (2018) Economically viable aquaponics? Identifying the gap between potential and current uncertainties. Rev Aquac 1(15)
Greenfeld A, Becker N, Bornman JF, dos Santos MJ, Angel DL (2019). Who will buy fishy lettuce? Australia and Israel as case studies on the potential consumers of aquaponic produce. In 93rd Annual Conference, April 15-17, 2019, Warwick University, Coventry, UK. Agricultural Economics Society-AES
Hochman G, Hochman E, Naveh N, Zilberman D (2018) The synergy between aquaculture and hydroponics technologies: the case of lettuce and tilapia. Sustainability (Switzerland) 10(10)
Hoevenaars K, Junge R, Bardocz T, Leskovec M (2018) EU policies: new opportunities for aquaponics, 4(1):10–15
Joly A, Junge R, Bardocz T (2015) Aquaponics business in Europe: some legal obstacles and solutions. Ecocycles 1(2):3–5
Kledal PR, Thorarinsdottir R (2018) Aquaponics: a commercial niche for sustainable modern aquaculture. In: Hai F, Visvanathan C, Boopathy R (eds) Sustainable aquaculture. Applied environmental science and engineering for a sustainable future. Springer, Cham
König B, Junge R, Bittsanszky A, Villarroel M, Komives T (2016) On the sustainability of aquaponics. Ecocycles 2(1):26–32
König B, Janker J, Reinhardt T, Villarroel M, Junge R (2018) Analysis of aquaponics as an emerging technological innovation system. J Clean Prod 180:232–243
Kuehne G, Llewellyn R, Pannell DJ, Wilkinson R, Dolling P, Ouzman J, Ewing M (2017) Predicting farmer uptake of new agricultural practices: a tool for research, extension and policy. Agric Syst 156(June):115–125
Lennard W, Goddek S (2019) Aquaponics: the basics. In: Goddek S, Joyce A, Kotzen B, Burnell G (eds) Aquaponics food production systems. Springer, Cham
Love DC, Fry JP, Genello L, Hill ES, Frederick JA, Li X, Semmens K (2014) An international survey of aquaponics practitioners. PLoS One 9(7)
Love DC, Fry JP, Li X, Hill ES, Genello L, Semmens K, Thompson RE (2015) Commercial aquaponics production and profitability: findings from an international survey. Aquaculture 435:67–74
Matthews H (2017) Incentives and barriers to adopting aquaponic and biofloc systems in Canada. Geography Department University of Toronto
Miličić V, Thorarinsdottir R, Santos M, Hančič M (2017) Commercial aquaponics approaching the European market: to consumers’ perceptions of aquaponics products in Europe. Water 9(2):80
Minetto S, Marinetti S, Saglia P, Masson N, Rossetti A (2018) Non-technological barriers to the diffusion of energy-efficient HVAC& R solutions in the food retail sector. Int J Refrig 86:422–434
Rakocy JE (2012) Aquaponics—integrating fish and plant culture. In: Aquaculture production systems. Wiley, Hoboken, p 344–386
Rogers EM (2010) Diffusion of innovations. Simon and Schuster
Ru D, Liu J, Hu Z, Zou Y, Jiang L, Cheng X, Lv Z (2017) Improvement of aquaponic performance through micro- and macro-nutrient addition. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24(19):16328–16335. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9273-1
Short G, Yue C, Anderson N, Russell C, Phelps N (2017) Consumer perceptions of aquaponic systems. HortTechnology 27(3):358–366
Short G, Yue C, Abbey M, Anderson N, Phelps N, Venturelli P, Vickers Z (2018) Consumer preferences for aquaponic produce: implications from an experimental auction. Agribusiness
Turnšek M, Morgenstern R, Schröter I, Mergenthaler M, Hüttel S, Leyer M (2019) Commercial aquaponics: a long road ahead. In: Goddek S, Joyce A, Kotzen B, Burnell G (eds) Aquaponics food production systems. Springer, Cham
Villarroel M, Junge R, Komives T, König B, Plaza I, Bittsánszky A, Joly A (2016) Survey of aquaponics in Europe. Water (Switzerland) 8(10):3–9
Yep B, Zheng Y (2019) Aquaponic trends and challenges – a review. J Clean Prod 228:1586–1599
The authors would like to acknowledge David C. Love for sharing his survey results and helpful suggestions regarding their analysis.
This work was supported by an advanced studies scholarship from the University of Haifa.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
About this article
Cite this article
Greenfeld, A., Becker, N., Bornman, J.F. et al. Identifying knowledge levels of aquaponics adopters. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 4536–4540 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-06758-8
- Technology adoption