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Book Chapter

Scoping the potential role of aquaponics in addressing challenges posed by the food-water-energy nexus using the Maltese Islands as a case-study

Citation
Borg M, Little DC, Telfer T & 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. In: Blok C, van Os E & Voogt W (eds.) International Symposium on Growing Media and Soilless Cultivation. ISHS Acta Horticulturae, 1034. Leuven, Belgium: International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), pp. 163-168. http://www.actahort.org/books/1034/1034_19.htm

Abstract
The Maltese Islands food-water-energy nexus faces substantial challenges. These include increasing levels of land fragmentation and abandonment, an aging farming population and decreasing returns possible for remaining, often part-time, farmers. Demand for high quality, locally produced vegetables and seafood from natives, tourists and migrants continues to increase while production shrinks in the context of a rich traditional food culture. The country's aquaculture sector also faces serious obstacles with exports facing tough competition and the tuna fattening industry dwindling because of reduced quotas. Water resources are also very scarce. Malta has no lakes or rivers and ground water is becoming increasingly brackish because of over-extraction, In terms of water resources per inhabitant, Malta is the most water stressed country in Europe and one of the ten most water-short countries in the world. Domestic supply of water is highly dependent on desalinization - an energy intensive process. Moreover, 90% of groundwater is of poor status and unfit for drinking because of nitrate pollution. This paper uses Malta as a case study to scope the potential of aquaponics to meet the complex demands of an economy with a high standard of living but extreme water-scarcity. Aquaponics - a closed cycle, soil-less method of cultivating crops that is highly water efficient and can reuse the limited effluents from intensive fish culture as a nutrient source, is assessed.

Keywords
integrated aquaculture; soilless agriculture; water conservation; Malta

StatusPublished
Author(s)Borg, Michael; Little, David Colin; Telfer, Trevor; Price, C
Title of seriesISHS Acta Horticulturae
Number in series1034
Publication date31/05/2014
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS)
Publisher URLhttp://www.actahort.org/books/1034/1034_19.htm
Place of publicationLeuven, Belgium
ISSN of series0567-7572
ISBN978-94-62610-21-7
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