SFS-11b-2015 - Consolidating the environmental sustainability of European aquaculture
Specific challenge: Access to space and high quality water are essential for European aquaculture operators. In particular, the lack of spatial planning is considered as one of the factors hindering the expansion of European aquaculture. Therefore, establishment of reliable (inland, coastal and offshore) spatial plans should be crucial for facilitating investment and development of the sector. Aquaculture also needs a high quality aquatic environment for ensuring the production of safe and nutritious seafood products. Subsequently, human activities, including operations of some specific aquaculture segments, that might affect negatively (e.g. through the impact of chemical, antibiotics, organic wastes, etc.) fresh water and marine ecosystems might also compromise the sustainability of European aquaculture. Therefore, ensuring the environmental sustainability of aquaculture practices is essential not only for guaranteeing compliance with the existing regulatory framework but also for improving the image of the European aquaculture sector. This should ultimately secure that the maximum economic potential of growth and employment is reached by the sector.
Scope: Proposals should address one of the following issue (B):
B.  Consolidating the environmental sustainability of European aquaculture
Proposals should compile existing and develop new tools for predicting and assessing the carrying capacity of the ecosystems at different geographic scales, taking into account specificities of the main European aquaculture segments and diversity of ecosystems in the main producing regions. They should also focus on improving existing and/or developing new integrated operational tools for the timely and cost-efficient environmental impact assessment of aquaculture production, in line with the requirements for the allocation of licenses for aquaculture businesses in the main producing European countries, as well as, for the implementation of the requirements set by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in relation to aquaculture operations. They should also develop cost-efficient management tools and practices for improving the environmental sustainability of European aquaculture, including forecasting and modelling tools that can support and inform decision support systems, in situ observation technologies and early sensing and alarming systems. They should also develop adequate methodologies and assess the environmental and ecological services that different segments of the sector might provide.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 7 million for (B) would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Expected impact: Proposals should show how some, or all, of the following impacts will be achieved:
· Support the Member States in establishing a coherent and efficient regulatory framework, implementing the Strategic Guidelines for the sustainable development of European Aquaculture and delivering a framework for sustainable growth.
· Support the development and implementation of coastal and marine spatial planning.
· Availability of new and efficient operational tools allowing national administrations to reduce the cost and time for delivering licenses for aquaculture operators.
· Contribution in creating enabling conditions for facilitating investments in European aquaculture through the provision of better observation, forecasting and decision support technologies.
· Availability of tools for reliable prediction and monitoring of environmental impacts of aquaculture operations.
· Strengthening the environmental sustainability of the aquaculture sector and enhancement of its image.
· Availability of tools for quantification of environmental services provided by the aquaculture sector
Type of action: Research and innovation actions