Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Economics

Committee Chair(s)

Tanner McCarty


Tanner McCarty


Kynda Curtis


Ryan Larsen


Aquaponics is an agricultural production practice which combines aquaculture, the raising of fish, and hydroponics, a soil-less crop production method, to create a system that symbiotically produces both. Compared to conventional open-field agriculture, this practice is highly resource efficient in terms of water and land usage, but has yet to be widely adopted due to a lack of research regarding its economic feasibility. This study compares the two most economically promising aquaponic system designs to determine which would be more profitable at the intermediate-commercial scale. The first of these is the coupled system which continuously circulates water in a closed loop, requiring very little input water to keep the system running. The second is the decoupled system which breaks the continuous loop, incurring higher water costs while improving vegetable yields by ensuring better water quality and allowing for the removal of wastewater. A cost benefit analysis on the two systems – weighing the benefits of investing in aquaponics against the costs – is performed. The two systems were compared at an equal size to determine whether the additional cost of water usage in a dry climate, such as Utah, would outweigh the additional revenue from the higher yields of the decoupled system. Results show that the additional water cost incurred by the decoupled system is not high enough to overcome the higher revenue of the decoupled system.



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