OceanEthix technology farming. (Photo: OceanEthix)
New aquaculture technology enhances farmed fish quality
Monday, April 08, 2013, 02:40 (GMT + 9)
While chefs and gourmets tend to opt for supposedly higher-quality wild-caught fish instead of the farmed ones, a managing director of Hong Kong-based supplier of aquaculture systems insists that farmed fish are no longer necessarily inferior to their wild counterparts.
Lloyd Moskalik, OceanEthix manager director, explained that the reef fish most popular in Hong Kong and China, such as mouse grouper and coral trout, can now be farmed to produce a higher quality than in the past.
"Seafood farms need high-quality water, free of toxins, free of growth hormones, and free of heavy metals," said Moskalik. "Fish farming methods tend to produce polluted water, leading to the use of antibiotics to treat the fish, so drugs are in the water, as well, and taste is compromised."
OceanEthix has found the solution to this problem through the Atoll system, a 100 per cent water treatment recycling process that uses bacteria to naturally break fish waste down into a fine powder, South China Morning Post reports.
"We put in water once - Bonaqua drinking water - and we import salt from Germany with no heavy metals. That [8 tonnes of] water is then recycled over and over again, and can remain in the system for five to seven years. You don't need to bring in any more water, or to pump any waste into the environment," he elaborated.
Reef fish grown in this way, Moskalik said, consistently rate higher in blind tastings against wild-caught reef fish.
Patrick Zepho, former chef at Roka, who is now a restaurant consultant and conducts classes in seafood preparation at the OceanEthix headquarters and aquaculture centre in Fo Tan, agrees and stresses that a fish caught in the wild will not taste as good by the time it gets to Hong Kong.
“If it doesn't come in live, it will already have rigor mortis, and that will change the texture and taste," he said.
Zepho and OceanEthix are also partners in a venture called Exotix, which supplies their fresh seafood to private customers, although the company's primary focus is on selling the technology itself.
Moskalik sees mouse grouper - which he said can be sold for up to USD 100 per kg - as the fish with the most potential in terms of demand.
"The target of our technology is the high-value fish from USD 40 to USD 150 per kg," he said. "The demand for high-value live seafood in China is going through the roof, so there's a big demand for green technology.”
By Natalia Real