VALLEY FORGE, Pa., Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- You've heard the old saying — there are plenty of fish in the sea — however, this may not always be the case. The inability of wild fisheries to supply the burgeoning demand for healthful and protein-rich seafood has given rise to a robust aquaculture industry that has helped alleviate the threat of overfishing in the world's oceans.
But raising fish in ponds and pens, while contributing greatly to the availability of affordable seafood, has given rise to a range of environmental concerns. Inland and shore-based farms, when poorly sited, can compromise water quality, and compete for space with recreation, shipping, commercial fishing and other uses.To solve these environmental concerns and preserve the promise of aquaculture's ability to satisfy the demand for fresh seafood, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has teamed with Kampachi Farms of Hawaii and Illinois Soybean Association to develop an innovative new system that could produce a sea change in fish farming. The new system, recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the Top 25 Inventions of 2012, is a mobile fish pen, or drifting fish cage, which is hooked to a barge that drifts with the ocean eddies. The system circles in the current much like a satellite is held by gravity in a controlled orbit around the Earth. The mobile system, which is constantly moving over the ocean's surface, in waters over 12,000 ft deep, solves the potential problems of impacts on water quality or impacts on the seafloor, and appears to improve fish health and growth. As the cage drifts, the highly automated system controls feeding from the barge and cleaning by a remote operating vehicle inside the cage. The system operates by integrating satellite communications, remote sensing data feeds, robotics, motor controls, and Lockheed Martin's command and control and situational awareness software.