Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TAPAS (Tools for Assessment and Planning of Aquaculture Sustainability)
Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2017-08-31
The Tools for Assessment and Planning of Aquaculture Sustainability (TAPAS) project, led by the University of Stirling, will create cost-efficient management tools and practices for the European aquaculture sector to investigate the limits to fish farming activity in a location, social interactions, potential environmental impacts and any future risks. The study will seek to establish a comprehensive “toolbox” to support transparent and efficient licensing, enhance environment sustainability and aquatic food security while tapping into the potential for food production and jobs. This work is in line with the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive to protect aquatic environments more effectively and provide consistent real-time monitoring, observation, early forecasting and management technologies. Collaboration with industry, regulators, certifiers and other stakeholders will ensure the decisions support system toolbox is accessible and can be used to promote an integrated sustainability strategy. This will play a major role in the European Commission’s strategy to achieve smart growth in aquaculture production. The fifteen consortium partners over 9 countries are the University of Stirling, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Marine Institute Ireland, NIVA, DHI, Water Insight BV, Wageningen UR, Universidad de Murcia, Fundacion Imdea Aqua, Université de Nantes, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Szent Istvan University, NACEE and AquaBioTech Group Limited. The Coordinator – The Institute of Aquaculture [www.aqua.stir.ac.uk] is the leading international centre in its field and is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far
The research work for the TAPAS project is proceeding well and according to schedule. All planned deliverables and milestones within the first reporting period have been achieved. The management of the project through a Management Board of all partners and a Steering Committee of Work package Leaders is overseen by an Advisory Board. The project operates through ten workpackages, including Management (WP1) and Ethical issues (WP 10). During the first reporting period, WP2 reviewed and assessed regulatory approaches throughout the EAA and implementation of national consultations. A common methodology was developed, tested and applied. Two interim reports on perceived impacts and bottle-necks in licensing frameworks were written, and an “ex-TAPAS tools database” was constructed. A workshop and report on ‘Existing regulatory and licensing frameworks and identification of bottlenecks’ which will inform the design of the overall decision support system was completed. During the first reporting period WP3 completed a literature review on chemical risk models and developed approaches to assess and refine rapid risk assessment regulatory tools for potentially toxic substances. Two workshops evaluated modelling approaches for case studies in Hungary, Spain, Greece and Norway. Most activity within WP4 involved a literature review and stakeholder evaluations of existing frameworks and concepts for assessment of ecosystem services. A general framework was developed to be used and refined throughout the TAPAS project. A major review encompassing a critical evaluation on the capabilities of existing near-field site selection models was completed in WP5. Initial parameterisation, testing and development of new dynamic and integrated spatial models is underway. Two outcomes have been completed in WP6; Earth Observation-based water quality data made ready for model assimilation, and the delivery of biogechemical variables from all model domains. A full decadal hindcast of the Mediterranean Sea, ecosystem model simulations of the North Atlantic, Nordic Seas, and the Baltic and Skagerrak regions have been completed. An inventory and database of available in situ datasets and a database for real time in situ measurements have been completed in WP7, allowing existing data and further in situ data to be stored and analysed effectively. The Aquaculture Sustainability Toolbox, in WP8, is progressing as planned. A report on ‘existing regulatory and licensing frameworks and identification of bottlenecks’ addressing the needs of industry and regulators to inform final content of the Aquaculture Sustainability Toolbox was completed, and showed the greatest needs of regulators proved to be models applicable in impact/risk assessment and tools for spatial planning. An updatable project communication and dissemination strategy and an initial draft 'Exploitation plan’ have been developed as part of WP9. A public website and social media (Twitter/Facebook) have been set up and printed material produced. The TAPAS Twitter account has 254 followers and has resulted in 19600 tweet impressions. The Facebook account has 171 followers and posts have reached an average of 767 users and the website has had over 13500 visitors. In addition, TAPAS has been represented at 30 conferences, meetings or workshops and three academic papers have been published.
Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)
The first reporting period has reviewed and evaluated existing regulation and licensing approaches, together with the models and tools that are used to assist with planning and assessment of aquaculture sustainability. WP2 has identified the main bottlenecks in regulation and licensing as well as the key requirements of stakeholders, which is one of the fundamental objectives of TAPAS and a necessary step towards strengthening management practices and developing a toolkit for timely and cost-efficient environmental assessment and site selection. The results from WP2 have already contributed to a review on the aquaculture licensing process in Ireland ensuring wider societal implications beyond the TAPAS project. WP2 has shared the results with other WPs who have evaluated approaches used to support planning, management and regulation, and are now analysing and refining existing tools and technologies, and developing new approaches where required. One important area of research having socio-economic impact and wider societal implications is the concept of ecosystem services and how it can included within aquaculture planning and management. WP4 has evaluated the perception of ecosystem services and started the initial development of societal models to be used in a regulatory framework. Preliminary results show that the concept is poorly understood at present by stakeholders and there is potential for TAPAS to increase awareness, and develop approaches for assessment that could lead to wider societal implications by enhancing the public image of different types of aquaculture. The results from WP4, together with the results from WPs 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 will all feed into WP8, the development of a toolbox and decision support system to enable appropriate, timely and cost-efficient environmental assessment and regulation. All state of the art approaches and new knowledge, tools and datasets developed and assembled in TAPAS will be used to address the sustainability of European aquaculture. Consequently, TAPAS can provide support and guidance, enabling member states to establish more efficient regulatory frameworks and reduce some of the barriers for industry. Thus there will be many opportunities for socio-economic impact and wider societal implications as the project progresses.