A commercial fisherman who admitted to once pillaging the oceans has won the 2015 Fuller Challenge, one of the most important prizes in sustainability.
Bren Smith, executive director of nonprofit GreenWave, took home $100,000 for his 3D ocean farming model, designed to address overfishing, mitigate climate change, restore marine ecosystems and provide jobs for fishermen by transforming them into restorative ocean farmers.
This new approach moves us from growing vulnerable monocultures to creating vibrant ecosystems, which work to rebuild biodiversity and produce higher yields. The infrastructure is simple: seaweed, scallops and mussels grow on floating ropes, stacked above oyster and clam cages below.
From these crops ocean farmers can produce food, fertilizers, animal feeds, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biofuels and much more. The farms are designed to restore, rather than deplete our ecosystems.
A single acre filters millions of gallons of ocean water every day, creates homes for hundreds of wild marine and bird species and absorbs the overabundance of nitrogen and carbon (with kelp sequestering 5x more carbon than land based-plants) that are killing billions of organisms. The design requires zero-inputs—there is no need for fresh water.