Shaping the future of Europe's aquaculture

August 5, 2013, CORDIS
Shaping the future of Europe's aquaculture
Credit: Shutterstock

Over the past few years, the depletion of fish stocks has been a growing concern for policy-makers, fishers and environmental organizations alike. Debates on EU measures to protect bluefin tuna or cod fishing quotas, for example, make the headlines on a regular basis.

Aquaculture - the farming of aquatic organisms under controlled conditions - is seen as part of the solution to these overfishing-related issues. Currently accounting for 20% of Europe's fish production, this industry is renowned for its high quality, sustainability and consumer protection standards. However, some major obstacles stand in the way of its further development, one of which being its impact on the environment: How can we ensure that techniques allow for the preservation of local ecosystems while not slowing down the sector's growth?

This is the main question the EU-funded SEAFARE (Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Aquaculture for the Atlantic Region of Europe) project is looking to answer. On the occasion of a two-day meeting that took place on 16-17 July 2013 at the IPMA aquaculture research station in Olhao, Portugal, the project team discussed its progress towards providing tools and technology for a more sustainable aquaculture.

Ending in December 2013, the project has already demonstrated its potential to impact policy, industry and society. 'We have achieved very interesting results during the project's lifetime, such as the work related to wetlands aquaculture carried out in Veta la Palma in Spain or the earthen ponds here in South Portugal, and we will ensure the new knowledge generated goes to the right stakeholders to facilitate its uptake,' said Mr Daniel Lee, SEAFARE project coordinator.

Consisting of multiple sub-projects, the SEAFARE project aims to promote the diversification of the by providing a greater range of species and alternative, environmentally-friendly production systems. All the initiatives developed by the project are assessed for their commercial applicability through close collaboration with stakeholders and SMEs. The project notably consisted in genetic studies characterizing the extent of naturalization of Pacific oysters, or research over milcroalgae species with attractive nutritional profiles.

'We anticipate that SEAFARE will live on as a thriving project and network that continues to link like-minded researchers with ambitious SME partners in the Atlantic Area. Spin-offs are anticipated in the form of commercial and research projects. The project has already created 11 jobs and the long-term impact of SEAFARE will also be bound up in the body of expertise that it is has created,' Daniel Lee said.

SEAFARE is planning to organise a workshop in October 2013 in Seville, Spain, in order to facilitate the transfer of knowledge generated from the project to interested parties. The main benefits of environmentally friendly wetland aquaculture systems will be presented to a wide range of stakeholders, including environmental managers, policy makers, the aquaculture industry, and NGOs at local, regional and international level.

Explore further: Researchers developing techniques for tuna aquaculture

More information:

Related Stories

Researchers developing techniques for tuna aquaculture

June 13, 2013

Swimming around and around in a 20,000 gallon tank at the University of Rhode Island's Bay Campus are several large yellowfin tuna captured last fall about 100 miles off the Rhode Island coast. The fish are part of the first ...

Aquaculture: Helping blue turn green

January 21, 2013

Producing sea shells and algae alongside fish could provide both an environmentally friendly and economically viable solution to make Mediterranean aquaculture sustainable.

Models for a more effective response to climate change

August 5, 2013

There is now widespread acceptance that the climate is changing due to human-related greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change will affect all sectors of society and the environment at the local, national and global scales.

System developed for optimising juvenile fish production

September 17, 2012

A European project, ALFA, has developed a state-of-the-art automatic system to control the most important variable parameters in live feed production for fish hatcheries. The systems were geared to suit conditions for aquaculture ...

'Perfect' food for 'perfect' prawns

July 31, 2013

Australian researchers have developed a food additive for farmed prawns that will mean prawn lovers will have access to more sustainable prawns that still taste great.

Recommended for you

Scientists shed light on biological roots of individuality

February 16, 2018

Put 50 newborn worms in 50 separate containers, and they'll all start looking for food at roughly the same time. Like members of other species, microscopic C. elegans roundworms tend to act like other individuals their own ...

Plants are given a new family tree

February 16, 2018

A new genealogy of plant evolution, led by researchers at the University of Bristol, shows that the first plants to conquer land were a complex species, challenging long-held assumptions about plant evolution.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.