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Photo: Catherine Smart for The Boston Globe
Steelhead trout from the University of New Hampshire aquaculture program.

As the tension between traditional fishing and the sustainability of the marine environment increases, so do hopes that some fishermen will get interested in the new approaches to aquaculture.

One new approach is being tested at the University of New Hampshire in collaboration with a New England chef.

Catherine Smart writes at the Boston Globe, “About a year ago, Jeremy Sewall — chef and partner of Row 34 and Island Creek Oyster Bar restaurants, and the recently opened Les Sablons — was scrolling through his Instagram feed when he spotted a glistening, speckled Steelhead trout from Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. in Brooklyn. The caption read that it was raised through the aquaculture program at the University of New Hampshire.

“As Sewall tells it, ‘I screenshot that picture and send it to my purchaser Phil and say, “Find me this fish, I own a restaurant in New Hampshire and I need to find this fish.” ‘

“The rainbow trout in question was raised by Michael Chambers, a research scientist at UNH’s School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering.

It was grown in an offshore pen that bears little resemblance to the stagnant, antibiotic-filled fish ponds people might associate with aquaculture.

“Many phone calls to the marine biology department later, purchaser Phil found Chambers and set up a meeting with Sewall. The scientist and the chef sat down to lunch. ‘Come to find out, that was kind of the end of the project. They had raised the fish [he saw on social media] and they weren’t sure what they were going to do next year, and I was like, “We have to do this, it’s incredible,” ‘ says Sewall.”

So they partnered.

Smart describes meeting Chambers and Sewall at the Judd Gregg Marine Science Complex and heading out with them to feed the fish.

Chambers said, “ ‘As a biologist, you want to see your chicken, your cows, every day — so you can see if they are healthy. If something is up, you can catch it right away.’  …

” ‘What’s unique about this is that we have a floating system that’s designed to hold fish at the center. And we have these,” he says, pulling up tubes of nylon netting, filled with mussels and seaweed growing on rope. ‘These act as biological filters, or a biological curtain, which are now taking nutrients that the fish give off and are absorbing them, taking that nitrogen out of the system.’  This Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture system, known as IMTA, is a big part of what sets Chambers’s project apart. …

“As a restaurateur, Sewall sees a major business opportunity, likening Chambers’s method of fish farming to the small organic farms that chefs patronize to get the best meat and produce. He is willing to wait for the fish to grow and is eager to create new dishes to showcase the end product.”

More at the Globe, here.

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I love stories like this in any field, even a field as foreign to me as mathematics.

A mathematical puzzle that most experts didn’t expect to see solved in their lifetime has been quietly mastered by a professor in New Hampshire. He just got an idea and worked it out.

Carolyn Y. Johnson covers the story for the Boston Globe:

“A soft-spoken, virtually unknown mathematician from the University of New Hampshire has found himself overnight a minor celebrity, flooded with requests to give talks at top universities.

“On May 9, mathematician Yitang Zhang, who goes by Tom, received word that the editors of a prestigious journal, Annals of Mathematics, had accepted a paper in which he took an important step toward proving a very old problem in mathematics.”

He showed that there are “an infinite number of primes separated by less than 70 million. [It] excites mathematicians because it is the first time anyone has proved there are an infinite number of primes separated by an actual number. … News of the feat rippled across the math world.

“ ‘This is certainly one of the most spectacular results of the last decade,’ Alex Kontorovich, a mathematician at Yale University, wrote in an e-mail. ‘Many people expected not to see this result proved in their lifetime.’

“Zhang said that he began to think seriously about solving the problem four years ago. … The epiphany did not come to him until July 3 of last year, when he realized he could modify existing techniques, building on what others had tried.

“ ‘It is hard to answer “how,” ‘ Zhang wrote in an e-mail. ‘I can only say that it came to my mind very suddenly.’

“The mathematician lives a simple life that he says gives him the ability to concentrate on his work. … Zhang’s achievement shows what can be accomplished by the elegant instrument of the human mind, working alone.

“ ‘Keep thinking, think of it everyday,’ Zhang said he would tell himself. ..

“ ‘The old adage is that mathematics is a young person’s game, and moreover most of the top results come from people or groups of people known to produce them,’ Kontorovich wrote. “Professor Zhang has demonstrated not only that one can continue to be creative and inventive well into middle-age [he’s in his 50s], but that someone working hard enough, even (or especially) in isolation, can make astounding breakthroughs.’ ”

I love the reminder about the importance of time to think. Everyone needs time to think. Even people who are not solving math puzzles for the ages.

Photo: Boston Globe

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