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Famed ‘Ocean Guy’ Jean-Michel Cousteau Backs Baltimore Fish Farm

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Overfishing the ocean is a problem decades in the making. But one lab in Baltimore is working to clean the ocean and stock local seafood restaurants.

Gigi Barnett explains the institute has the backing of a famous scientist.

Jean-Michel Cousteau says that he’s just an ocean guy, but in all his worldwide research, he says one lab is really protecting the ocean, and it’s right here in Baltimore.

At the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, locked away in a lab are pods.

Inside are clean, aquamarine environments that mimic the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Chesapeake.

“On the planet today, there is only one place where they do it the way it should be done, and it’s here,” Cousteau said.

Cousteau, son of the famed ocean scientist Jacques Cousteau and an accomplished oceanographer himself, visited the lab this week.

He says too much overfishing has depleted wild seafood. He fears without the lab some of the more popular fish consumers want to eat will be gone for good.

“The ocean cannot produce as much as we need,” he said. “They [the fish in the lab] look alike. I’m gonna cook them and you’re gonna tell me which one is farm and not farm. You’ll be amazed. Same taste.”

“In the 70s when I started, I knew that we are going to run out,” said Dr. Yonathan Zohar.

That sparked Zohar and a group of scientists to create the aquaculture research center. It’s a fish farm that is completely green and self-sustaining.

“All the solid waste that is produced by the fish is removed, collected and converted to bio-fuel,” Zohar said.

And that allows the fish to help save themselves and maybe us.

“If you protect the ocean, you protect yourself,” Cousteau said.

Most of the fish inside the farm will end up on tables here in Baltimore. The center is already supplying seafood to many high-end restaurants.

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