'Floating Ponds' concept that could see vertical fish farms in parks and on rooftops unveiled

Mr Lucky Phua (left), deputy group CEO of Apollo Aquaculture Group, with a staff member feeding coral trout at Apollo Aquaculture Group's fish farm.
Mr Lucky Phua (left), deputy group CEO of Apollo Aquaculture Group, with a staff member feeding coral trout at Apollo Aquaculture Group's fish farm.ST PHOTO: SAMANTHA BOH
Apollo Aquaculture Group's farm in Lim Chu Kang which comes with six ponds - two on each level. Each pond is 135 sq m and can hold about 22,000 fish fry.
Apollo Aquaculture Group's farm in Lim Chu Kang which comes with six ponds - two on each level. Each pond is 135 sq m and can hold about 22,000 fish fry.ST PHOTO: SAMANTHA BOH
A staff member feeding coral trout at Apollo Aquaculture Group's fish farm.
A staff member feeding coral trout at Apollo Aquaculture Group's fish farm.ST PHOTO: SAMANTHA BOH

SINGAPORE - Multi-storey fish farms on rooftops, parks or even under viaducts could become a reality if infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong has its way.

It has come up with a vertical farm system that needs much less space to house than traditional farms, but which can produce several times the amount of fish.

The Temasek Holdings-owned firm unveiled its Floating Pond concept on Monday (Sept 4), developed over the last four years with Singapore  fish farm Apollo Aquaculture Group.

Surbana Jurong said it has held discussions with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and JTC Corporation, but was unable to say when the concept would be rolled out here. The firm, which does work in 40 countries, plans to introduce this concept overseas as well, in places such as Berlin in Germany.

Already in operation is a three-storey prototype at Apollo Aquaculture Group's farm in Lim Chu Kang which comes with six ponds - two on each level. Each pond is 135 sq m and can hold about 22,000 fish fry.

Increasing this to six storeys or more could potentially yield almost 5,000 tonnes of fish per year, six times more than a conventional fish farm of the same land space.

Surbana plans to improve the prototype by introducing self-sustainable features.For example, the system will have solar panels to harness energy from the sun, and rain water collected and wastewater from fish tanks are purified to be reused while leftover nutrients from the purification process is used as fish feed.

"With such a vertical farming concept, Floating Ponds can maximise use of land and help make a small pocket of urban space significantly productive, enhance the surrounding ecology and generate a vibrant community hub with farming activities," said Mr Wong Heang Fine, group chief executive of Surbana Jurong.

Said Mr Eric Ng, group chief executive of Apollo Aquaculture Group: "The farming sector is vibrant in Singapore but there are obvious space constraints here. We need to break away from the conventional mould and advocate new ways of farming."