Bren Smith: Vertical ocean farming

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Bren Smith Bren Smith has created the world’s first sustainable vertical ocean farm.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, more than 85 percent of fisheries, around the globe, have been pushed to, or beyond, their natural limits because of overfishing.

But, as one commercial fisherman found out, just because there are fewer fish left to catch, it doesn’t mean our oceans can’t continue to feed us.

Bren Smith created the world’s first sustainable three-dimensional, or vertical, ocean farm.

“Imagine an underwater garden,” said Smith. “It’s vertical and on the top we have these floating long lines and we’re growing seaweeds, like kelp, mussels, scallops, oysters, all hanging down.”

Bren Smith: Vertical ocean farming

Bren Smith: Vertical ocean farming

Bren Smith has created an alternative for fishermen who can no longer depend on a declining catch from the sea.


Smith is dedicated to satisfying our seafood cravings with sustainable shellfish and seaweed, while simultaneously restoring the ocean’s ecosystem.

“Our kelp soaks up five times more carbon than land-based plants,” explained Smith. “Our oysters soak up nitrogen which is the cause of dead zones. It’s not just sustainable, but going beyond sustainability to actually restorative and figuring out new systems.”

May Lee sat down with Bren Smith at the 2015 annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative and discussed his alternative for fishermen who can no longer depend on a declining catch from the sea.