How is cannabis linked to fish?

You’d probably never think to compare cannabis to fish. They don’t really seem to have anything in common. Fish isn’t even something you crave when you’ve got the munchies. However, as cannabis growers look at the future of production, they’re starting to look at using fish to improve current practices.

More and more people in the agriculture industry are looking for ways to make their practices more sustainable, including companies in the cannabis industry. A Canadian cannabis producer has been using an unconventional method to fertilize their cannabis crop. Ontario-based cannabis company Green Relief is using an aquaponic system to improve their growing methods.

About Green Relief

Green Relief is a Canadian cannabis producer located outside Hamilton, Ontario. The company goes out of their way to use greener, more sustainable methods. About 3 years ago they began perfecting an aquaponic growing system. The aquaponic system raises about 6,000 tilapia fish and about 4,500 plants at any time.

Their facility is literally underground and the only sign that it exists is the ventilation equipment sticking out above the ground. Their website claims that they’re the “only medical cannabis provider in the world that’s producing by way of aquaponics.” They’re currently looking at expanding and building more facilities in Thunder Bay and Nova Scotia.

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a closed-loop system that recycles water and fertilizes plants thanks to the use of fish. It combines aquaculture and hydroponics to create a highly efficient growing system. Basically, the company uses the filtered fish waste from 16 fish tanks to fertilize their cannabis plants. The plants in turn clean the water so it can be returned to the fish tanks. As a bonus, there’s no need to use any chemical fertilizers.

A lot of companies are looking at this form of aquaponics as a viable, greener, and more efficient method of agriculture in the future. “This is the agriculture of the future,” says Warren Bravo, cofounder of the company. “If you’re not latching on to sustainable agriculture technologies now, you’re going to be a dinosaur.”

What are the Benefits?

Using aquaponics is actually a very efficient method of growing cannabis. Some of the agricultural benefits include higher yield and lower water usage. Because of the closed-loop system, it uses about 90% less water than traditional growing methods and the yield is 10-20% higher thanks to the natural fertilization.

There’s also a philanthropic aspect to this system. Once every 5 weeks ,Green Relief empties one of its 16 fish tanks to donate the 300 market-size tilapia to charity. The fish then go to a homeless shelter to feed those less fortunate.

Canada’s Ahead of the Game

As one of the first countries to legalize recreational cannabis, Canada has a real advantage. Our growers can openly experiment to find the most effective growing methods. They can adapt and perfect different methods to give us the highest yields and best quality cannabis.

“Canada’s in a very fortunate position right now,” [Warren Bravo] says.“We get to take the lead in a brand new industry.” For now, Canadian companies like Green Relief have a clear advantage in the cannabis industry.

Moving forward, aquaponics is a viable solution to grow sustainable cannabis. It may even help with the cannabis shortages due to its higher yields. If you’re looking for sustainable or organic cannabis, look for products from Green Relief. And, as a bonus, you can feel good about your cannabis when you know it was grown using aquaponics.