Combating Desertification through Fish Farming
For many years the relationship between fish farming and agriculture has been built on recycling the discharged water from the cultivated fields into the aquaculture systems. This discharged water was sometimes full of pesticides and chemicals that were hazardous to both fish and humans. But the proposed integrated aquaculture and agriculture system is to work in the opposite direction: the drainage water of the aquaculture is recycled for agriculture. In this case, no pesticides or hazards are transferred to the fish and, at the same time, plants are irrigated with naturally fertilized water, which has very limited chances of negative impact on the environment or human health.
The study revealed no significant difference (P > 0.05) between tilapia fish (Oreochromis niloticus) reared on groundwater and fish grown in the natural open waters, whether in growth rates, total protein or total phosphorus content. The organic matter, total Nitrogen and NH3 were significantly increased in the drainage water as compared with the supplied water. Irrigating the soil with the drainage water of fish ponds significantly enhanced soil quality, indicated by an increase in organic matter and total nitrogen, and reduced soil salinity.
It was concluded that combating desertification can be made effective through integrative fish farming in arid and semi-arid areas with the presence of brackish groundwater. Moreover, not only will it protect lands from degradation and improve their quality, but it will also utilize neglected natural resources in creating a productive community.
KeywordsDesertification fish farming groundwater soil quality
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