The main objective of EcoAqua is to integrate outstanding researchers in the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) to foster research excellence in Sustainable Aquaculture under a Ecosystem Approach. The newly hired ERA Chair research team will contribute to develop and strengthen the S&T research potential and capacities of ULPGC, underpinning a better integration into the ERA. After the 5 years implementation of EcoAqua, the ULPGC will push up the boundaries of its extant research lines, have an enhanced research capacities on aquaculture and its environmental interactions, through its University Research Institute in Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Conservation, as well as play an active role in the development of the European Blue Economy, contributing to the Outermost Regional Sustainable Development.
The ERA Chair, the associated research personnel and the staff of the ULPGC Research Groups in Aquaculture and in Biodiversity and Conservation will secure new additional research equipments and start new research studies, such as marine spatial planning and site selection, increase animal performance during life-cyle, including egg and larval quality, better fish health and welfare, new aquaculture species under climate change scenarios, genetic improvement of productive, health and animal welfare traits, fundamental knowledge to understand the interactions between farmed and wild stocks, including wildlife, etc., all of them related to a better integration of Aquaculture and the Environment, taking into consideration the fragile marine ecosystem of the Outermost Regions, such the Canary Islands. In parallel, these outstanding scientists will build up a network of concerned partners inside the ERA (including the Outermost Regions, ORs) as well as other International partners, such as the Marine Programme of IUCN, to consolidate excellence research on diverse topics, such as sustainable feeds and ingredients, IMTA, marine protected areas and aquaculture production, use and develop best practices to optimize prevention methods, stock enhancements, manage and transfer aquaculture/conservation knowledge to stakeholders, etc., related to the sustainable developmente of the aquaculture sector in european waters,
The EcoAqua will conduct an annual Summer Course on “Ecosystems-based Approach for the Sustainable Development of Aquaculture” to train and exchange information among ERA members (including ORs and Overseas Countries and Territories – OCTs) on current issues dealing with marine spatial planning, ecosystem interactions and aquaculture development in coastal areas. In the second year, EcoAqua will organize an International Workshop to provide the discussion forum for the application of an Ecosystem-based approach in ORs and OCTs as well as an International Conference on “Challenges in the Environmental Management of Coastal and Marine Areas”. The third year, an International Conference on “Marine Spatial Planning, Sustainable Growth and Biodiversity Conservation in Island Systems” will be organized with the participation of relevant actors from EU (such as DG Mare/DG RTD) and elsewhere (e.g. FAO, UN Barbados Programme of Action, IUCN, …). Another networking activity of EcoAqua will be the Sustainable Aquaculture Technological Platform and the Aquaculture Cluster within the ULPGC, that will promote knowledge transfer in marine areas, strategic for economic development of the Canary Islands and coastal areas of the ORs and other territories of Europe. The Sustainable Aquaculture Technological Platform (with a steering committee) wil provide applied results for use by researchers and coastal stakeholders including decision makers, SME, and NGOs, to ensure the sustainable management of aquaculture in ORs, taking into consideration new funding schemes such as Horizon 2020, ICP and other Structural Funds. In this sense The EcoAqua team will produce Guidelines to support and foster Sustainabl
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