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Promoting and supporting the eco-intensification of aquaculture production systems: inland (including fresh water), coastal zone, and offshore

Proposals should support aquaculture production and communities with cost-effective innovative solutions and technologies that ensure sustainable offshore, coastal and inland development and growth. They should look at strengthening integrated aquaculture activities (species and systems) in a sustainable way, by implementing new/emerging technologies and innovations in monitoring and management systems and focusing on sound economic reduction of operational costs related to innovative aquaculture production systems while enhancing fish health and welfare. The participation of SMEs that will benefit from the intellectual property and/or from the commercial use of the project outcomes is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 6 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Projects funded under this topic will by default participate in the Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020, with the option to opt-out, as described in the introduction.

Aquaculture is an attractive and important component of rural and coastal livelihoods providing employment and facilitating a sustainable economy by means of business development and diversification. The opportunities for growth of the aquaculture industry in the EU remain substantial given the potential for innovation with respect to culture techniques, technological advances, species and product diversification. European aquaculture production is expected to sustainably increase by continuously pursuing ways and means of improving production practices, to make them more efficient and cost-effective while improving resource use and environmental management. This sustainable eco-intensification of the European aquaculture industry has been identified as a major challenge ahead in order to meet global fish and seafood security needs for future generations.

To contribute to the eco-intensification of European aquaculture, proposals should:

  • Bring to the market new and cost effective commercial applications to assist aquaculture producers in their activity.
  • Secure EU markets by increasing the offer of nutritious, high quality and safe fish and seafood products from a continuous supply of EU aquaculture products that meet EU consumers' demands and contributing to reducing the dependency of the EU on imports of fish and seafood products from international markets.
  • Improve the sustainability of the European aquaculture industry by optimising production systems and profitability while ensuring optimal resource use and minimising environmental impact
  • Consolidate eco-efficient aquaculture practices to ensure access to high-value niche markets while minimising the environmental impact of the activity.
  • Improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy.