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'It saved the farm' Cape hatchery turns fish waste into sustainable fertilizer

What saved Blue Stream Aquaculture Cape Cod from death-by-COVID was fish waste. 

The 161-year-old West Barnstable trout hatchery, which raises brook, brown, rainbow, and tiger trout, saw its business nearly cut in half by the pandemic. The company’s primary business was stocking ponds for fishing derbies in Massachusetts. When the derbies were put on hold because of the pandemic, sales dropped from an average of 22,000 pounds a week to as low as 1,500 pounds a week. 

“We had to put the brakes on,” Keith Wilda, Blue Stream owner, said during a tour of his West Barnstable farm on Tuesday. “We had to find alternatives.” 

What eventually saved them was a fish waste elixir, collected from the closed aquaculture system in West Barnstable. Wilda has 30 years of experience in hydroponics, and when he used the fish waste on his lawn and vegetables, he noticed an unusual degree of improvement. His tomatoes had never grown so well. 

Landscapers and a professional sports team are among the company's growing clientele. But the company is also testing the market for their products. For example Rise and Thrive is designed for house plants and Epic is designed for hydroponic greenhouses.

Read the complete article here.

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