The Marine Institute’s Lehanagh Pool site in Co. Galway, Ireland Photo: Marine InstituteThe Marine Institute’s Lehanagh Pool site in Co. Galway, Ireland Photo: Marine Institute

A new EU-funded research project bringing together the Marine Institute and partners across the Atlantic will focus on the value and sustainability of aquaculture.

The All Atlantic Ocean Sustainable, Profitable and Resilient Aquaculture (ASTRAL) project will focus on integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), where multiple, complementary species from different levels of the food chain are farmed together, with the waste from one species used as food for another.

“As a research organisation, the Marine Institute will assist with developing the techniques and assessing the benefits of IMTA,” said Pauline O’Donohoe, ASTRAL project coordinator at the Marine Institute. “This collaborative project aims to support the aquaculture industry by providing aquaculture producers with the tools to diversify their aquaculture species and practices.”

The project, which has received €8 million in funding under the Horizon 2020 Programme, will use the IMTA process to produce Atlantic salmon, lumpfish, European lobster, kingscallop, sea urchin and brown and green species of seaweed, allowing the Marine Institute to investigate new production methods.

ASTRAL goals include achieving zero-waste aquaculture systems, as well as creating business models and tools to increase profitability. Potential climate risks and pollutants will be assessed, together with the development of technology such as specific sensors and biosensors, with the aim of informing policy makers.

The ASTRAL consortium includes 16 partners from ten countries around the Atlantic Ocean and is led by the Norwegian Research Centre.

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