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Pentair Re-Imagines Fish Farming with Innovation in Aquaponics

April 10, 2014


Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) provide sustainable, closed-loop solution to help address growing global demand for fish protein

Schaffhausen, Switzerland - April 10, 2014 - Through its work in aquaponics, Pentair is helping a new industry bring healthy food to developing countries, arid climates and space-challenged urban centers.  With the world's demographics rapidly changing, fish farming is expanding to meet the growing population's increased need for additional protein sources.  It is anticipated that more than half of the world's seafood supply in the next decade will come from farmed fish.*

"The world's population - and more specifically the middle class population - is growing, and with it, the demand for fish protein is quickly surpassing sustainable natural fish production.  Aquaponics has the potential to help meet the demand, while reducing pressure on fish populations in the wild," says Randall J. Hogan, Chairman and CEO of Pentair. "Our expertise in water systems and solutions allows us to re-imagine fish farming in a sustainable way that provides a real commercial option to help solve this growing food dilemma, and potentially support urban growth and renewal."

Aquaponics is the combined culture of fish and hydroponic vegetable crops in a closed-loop system. In aquaponics, fish provide the nutrients that plants need to grow, and the plants act as a filter to improve the water quality for the fish. Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, Inc. has been instrumental in helping commercial operations around the globe integrate their traditional fish farms and plant production with its recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) solutions. Designed to be energy efficient with minimal waste, the resulting benefits include cost savings on filtration and fertilizer, the elimination of soil borne disease in vegetable production, and the potential to meet organic standards.

Fish Farming in a Warehouse
Traditionally, fish farming has taken place near water systems. But modern aquaponics make it possible to create fish farms in a variety of places such as old industrial factories and buildings.

One example is Urban Organics, a large-scale indoor aquaponics farm located in the historic Hamm's Brewery building in St. Paul, Minn. Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems and its team of experts including engineers, horticulturists and biologists, worked with Urban Organics to design, install and engineer the world-class system-one of the largest and most advanced aquaponics facilities in the country. The system will eventually house eighteen (18) 3,500-gallon fish tanks and generate more than 720,000 pounds of greens and 150,000 pounds of fish annually.

Set to open in April 2014, Urban Organics will produce kale, Swiss chard, Italian parsley and cilantro as its first crops, and tilapia will follow in mid-summer. All produce and herbs are 100 percent organically certified by the USDA National Organic Program.

"Our mission is to inspire a food system for the people, by the people-and a viable aquaponics facility is just our first idea to fix what's broken," says Fred Haberman, Partner and Co-founder, Urban Organics. "But we couldn't do it alone. From our first conversations with Pentair, it was obvious we share a goal of re-imagining farming to increase access to affordable, fresh and healthy food, and doing so in a sustainable way."
A key component of the Urban Organics system is its long-term sustainability. "As experts in water filtration and reuse, our team was able to design the system to use water so efficiently that there is only a two percent loss-far below the water waste of traditional agriculture," says Bob Miller, Vice President and General Manager, Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems. Additionally, the system has been designed to allow the fish and plant sides to operate independently, and for the flow of water and nutrients through the system to be tightly controlled-allowing Urban Organics to vary production according to market demand.

Pentair is working with customers around the globe to design sustainable aquaculture systems.  For more information, visit

*Source: Worldwatch Report 176, "Farming Fish for the Future," B. Halwell, 2008

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About Pentair
Pentair Ltd. ( delivers industry-leading products, services and solutions for its customers' diverse needs in water and other fluids, thermal management and equipment protection. With 2013 revenues of $7.5 billion, Pentair employs more than 30,000 people worldwide. Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, a business of Pentair Ltd., provides leading edge equipment, accessories and water technology solutions to the swimming pool, aquaculture and environmental water monitoring industries. For more information, visit

Rebecca Osborn
Direct: +1 763 656 5589