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An International Research Consortium for promoting and developing Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture

Final Report Summary - IRC-IMTA (An International Research Consortium for promoting and developing Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture)

Aquaculture is now a major component of global food security and is the fast growing food production sector globally. However the European Aquaculture industry is stagnating and facing real questions of economic and environmental sustainability. In contrast the global aquaculture production is growing at approximately 7% per annum. Much of this growth is fuelled by the expansion of the Chinese industry. The Chinese industry is also looking to increase the environmental sustainability of this crucial food production sector. One solution to both the economic and environmental sustainability of the global aquaculture industry is to take an integrated approach to aquaculture production by growing more than one species in a single area and allowing the natural recycling of material, nutrients and energy between the different components of the production system. This approach is known as Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture or IMTA. The idea behind the International Research Consortium for promoting and developing Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IRC-IMTA) was to establish an international research consortium for promoting and developing research into Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) technologies to support the sustainable development of aquaculture worldwide.

The main results

Project Development

The IDREEM (Increasing Industrial Resource Efficiency in European Mariculture) project is a 4 year, 15 partner FP7 project with a total budget of €5.7 million. The development of this project was as a direct result of the discussions at the kick off meeting of the IRC-IMTA project and the subsequent interactions during the project. The aim of the IDREEM project is to accelerate the development of IMTA across Europe and to benchmark the social, economic and environmental impact of the adoption of IMTA by aquaculture producers. There is a clear progression of development from IRC-IMTA through IDREEM to the development of IMTA in Europe, and IRC-IMTA has been the seed for a major innovation in the European aquaculture industry. In addition a number of other European projects have been developed as a result of the networking activities of the IRC-IMTA project. These include the ‘ResUrch’ project, a Research for SME project, and the Northern Peripheries Project Utilisation of Arctic Sea Urchin Resources.

Research Exchanges.

There were four main groups of research exchanges during the course of the project.

BioForsk to Yellow Seas Fishery Research Institute.

The main goal of the 2010 staff exchange between Bioforsk in Bodø, Norway, and the Yellow Sea Fishery Research Institute (YSFRI) in Qingdao, China, was to exchange knowledge with regards to the seaweeds hatchery process, and for up-skilling on genetics analyses and aquatic and food safety control.

Yellow Seas Fishery Research Institute to Bioforsk.

Prof. WANG Qingyin, Prof. LIU Hui and Prof. ZHANG Yan visited Bioforsk during late August and September 2010, as part of the exchange programme planned for the EU FP7 project PIRSES-GA-2008-230803 - IRC-IMTA. Project partners from YSFRI, NIWA and HCMR participated in the International conference on Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) held in Bioforsk, and visited Bioforsk laboratories and local fish farms (Lofilab AS - Lofitorsk holding, Mainstream co.). Before coming to Bodø, Prof. WANG also participated in a workshop held in SINTEF, and made a presentation on Aquaculture Selective Breeding in China. He left Bioforsk earlier due to other commitments. During this visit, YSFRI researchers worked together with Bioforsk colleagues on aquaculture standards, sea urchin hatchery and culture techniques, and seaweed spore collection and growout methods, to be adapted to fit the Norwegian weather and fjord conditions.

Hellenic Centre for Marine Research to Yellow Seas Fishery Research Institute.

The Greek scientists who visited the YSFRI gave lectures dealing with specific subjects related to their expertise contributing to the transfer of knowledge to the Chinese partners. Moreover, during their mission they visited different Departments and labs of YSFRI as well as commercial Chinese farms which culture different marine species.

Yellow Seas Fishery Research Institute to Scottish Association for Marine Science.
Prof. GE Xiang-an (Director General of YSFRI at that time), Prof. SUN Hui-ling (senior scientist) and Prof. LIU Hui (senior scientist) visited the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) during 14-19 March 2010. SAMS Director Professor Laurence Mee received the YSFRI delegation, and a workshop was held in SAMS. Participants from SAMS included Dr. Kenny Black, Dr Michele Stanley, Dr. Maeve Kelly, Dr. Adam Hughes, and others. Both parties introduced research work in their institutes, where details were given regarding possible fields for future collaborations.