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FP6

ECASA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 6540
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES

The eco side of aquaculture

Using a holistic ecosystem approach to improve the sustainability of the aquaculture industry and maintain coastal areas will bring benefits to both the environment and the sector.
The eco side of aquaculture
Aquaculture provides the planet with almost half the fish we eat and accounts for almost 20 % of fish production in the EU. The EU-funded project 'Ecosystem approach for sustainable aquaculture' (ECASA) sought to deliver an ecosystem approach to create a more sustainable aquaculture industry.

As a first step, the project defined qualitative and quantitative indicators regarding the effects of aquaculture on the environment, as well as the environment's effect on aquaculture. It worked on developing tools and models that investigate the dynamic between both and produce a solid environmental impact assessment. This also included new approaches for managing coastal areas as well as selecting the most ideal aquaculture sites.

In a move that promises to revolutionise the sector, the project developed a set of tools, predictive models and environmental indicators to evaluate marine sites in a more eco-friendly manner. It also identified key environmental indicators, ecosystem dynamics and approaches for assessing economic costs resulting from environmental and man-made pressures.

These findings were applied to specific areas in an ambitious case study, which yielded solid guidelines and site reports that minimise ecosystem impacts and promote sustainable development of the industry.

Overall, ECASA underlined a holistic approach to marine ecosystems and formulated a risk-based approach that considered all sensitive aspects. The project's impact and the usefulness of the developed toolbox are set to be significant in upgrading the industry and advancing its environmental profile.
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