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Organic warmwater fish production through activated suspension and periphyton-based ecological technology


The proposed research will develop an in-depth understanding of the use of natural food production to support intensive warm water culture of fish. Current aquaculture in Europe is based on carnivorous fish species, usually produced in marine cages or flow-through ponds, reliant on diets rich in marine fishmeal and oils. This causes negative impacts on surrounding ecosystems and makes the products sensitive to contamination by persistent chemicals. Tilapias, as herbivorous fish that grow well on bacterial-detrital aggregate and periphyton in their natural tropical environment, can potentially be raised in well-insulated systems in Europe based on locally produced plant-based feedstocks. Commercial systems could become part of a diversification option for organic farmers, allowing them to add value to locally grown crops and develop local niche markets for high quality, fully traceable food.

The research will optimise a production system based on the principles of activated suspension (AS) and periphyton enhancement (PE) in which relatively low protein feeds can be used to raise tilapia in highly aerated tanks to maintain both feed and water quality levels. The quality and quality of water used, natural and supplemental foods and effluents will be monitored in both AS, AS+PE and conventional recycled systems (RS). System nitrogen and energy efficiencies will be assessed for both systems and budgets derived. Environmental impacts are expected to be positive and the research outcomes to have important social and economic implications for rural areas of Europe.

The research builds on the competency of the International Fellow and the host institution in the area of sustainable fish production. It is based around bringing together novel techniques that have been tested and are in use in the tropics, into a European context. The research experience should ensure valuable training in new techniques and exposure of the Fellow to more intensive approaches to fish production.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/hydrology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/zoology/ichthyology

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

IIF - Marie Curie actions-Incoming International Fellowships



United Kingdom