Highlights from the INTEGRATE project Expert Roundtables

The 4 or 5 themed workshops over the course of the last 2 years (environmental, technical, economic, social & regulatory), aimed to bring together key experts from industry, academia, and state institutions in order to develop the concept of best-practice for IMTA in each European Atlantic Area country. Now that these roundtables are almost all completed, it is a good time to review some of the most common themes, and to pick out some of the most salient points made during these discussions. Here we will give you a general summary of the roundtable discussions; for a more complete synthesis of best-practice for the European Atlantic Area as a whole please see the Thematic Roundtables Report, which will be available very soon on the INTEGRATE website.

Aside from knowledge sharing, throughout the 5 Thematic Workshops certain points have been reiterated time and again, thus bringing to light common situations within the European Atlantic Area.

Possibly the first point to make is that we do not yet have enough collective experience of IMTA to understand what constitutes best practice. In every instance it was made clear that we need more trials, more data and more opportunity for training across and between the different sectors.

What is the problem IMTA is trying to solve? As has been pointed out by many, IMTA in its current ‘industrialised aquaculture’ form was conceptualised as a neat way to solve a potential nutrification problem. However, the problem that those who implement aquaculture are trying to solve is first and foremost an economic one. How do we get around this? For Pascal Raux, the real questions are ‘for whom and why to produce?’. From the answers to this the main strategic objectives for aquaculture development and IMTA should be derived…. The questions, ‘what are the goals of IMTA?’, and ‘who is the main proponent?’ should be useful here.

To find out more about the roundtables about technical aspects of IMTA, please see our INTEGRATE project Newsletter #3 from March this year.

Pilot Action information leaflets

As part of the INTEGRATE Project’s outreach to a wider public activities, we are creating a suite of promotional material to help inform a range of stakeholders about different aspects of eco-efficient practices in aquaculture. We hope to demonstrate that IMTA can be a step towards a greener Atlantic aquaculture industry, producing safe and healthy food and valuable jobs.

Our new leaflets, each describing one of our 3 pilot actions, are now available for download:

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One step closer to a definition of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture

We are now in our final year of the INTEGRATE project and all activities are in full swing!

Following the results of our questionnaire launched earlier this year, and as anticipated in our previous Newsletter #3 from March this year, we organised an event in order to join forces and reach a consensus on what is and what is not IMTA. The specific aims of the event were to operationalise the conceptual definition of IMTA, to decide and agree on what is and what is not IMTA, not fundamentally, but for a definition that would be useful in policy terms, and with a view towards eco-labelling.

To discuss these questions, thirty-nine experts from eleven countries in the Atlantic Area and further afield gathered on May 9th 2019, Europe Day, at the headquarters of the Interreg Atlantic Area Managing Authority, Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento do Norte, in Porto (Portugal).

Following a warm welcome from Ms. Sandra Tavares da Silva, Executive Manager of the Interreg Atlantic Area Managing Authority, and introductions from INTEGRATE project partners Erik-Jan Malta (CTAQUA) and Bertrand Jacquemin (CEVA), we had the pleasure to welcome a few keynote speakers, including Yuan Xinhua from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Italy, Amir Neori from the University of Haifa, Israel, Patricia Bianchi from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, UK, and INTEGRATE project partner Adam Hughes from the Scottish Association for Marine Science, UK.

Conclusions

Following the presentations and discussions rounds in Porto, the experts concluded that it is possible and necessary to have a single global IMTA definition, environmental and socio-economic benefits are a very important part of IMTA. They also agreed that an appropriate legislative framework for IMTA already exists; therefore, since the event in May, the INTEGRATE project partners have been working on bringing these elements together in a simple yet meaningful definition, in order to obtain support from key players in the industry and policy-making sectors, and as a basis to increase awareness and knowledge about what IMTA means for the sustainability of aquaculture and thus gain support from the general public.

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Keynote presentations from invited speakers and project partners

Presented at the INTEGRATE Project IMTA definition event on May 9th, 2019. The event was hosted by the Interreg Atlantic Area Managing Authority at the Norte Portugal Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N), Porto, Portugal.

  1. INTEGRATE Project overiew Erik-Jan Malta. Erik-Jan Malta. Aquaculture Technology Centre (CTAQUA)
  2. Results of the online questionnaire Bertrand Jacquemin. Project Manager. Centre d’Étude et de Valorisation des Algues (Ceva)
  3. IMTA towards sustainable aquaculture Xinhua Yuan. Senior Aquaculture Officer. Aquaculture brach, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  4. Models of land-based IMTA developed in Israel Amir Neori. Research Fellow. University of Haifa
  5. Trade-offs in European IMTA: who benefits and who pays? Adam Hughes. Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Aquaculture. Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
  6. ASC and MSC seaweed certification – considerations and challenges Patricia Bianchi. Seaweed Account Manager. Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The INTEGRATE Project Podcasts

Five podcasts recorded by CTAQUA at the INTEGRATE Project IMTA definition event on May 9th, 2019. The event was hosted by the Interreg Atlantic Area Managing Authority at the Norte Portugal Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N), Porto, Portugal.

1. Adam Hughes, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Aquaculture, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), UK, discusses the main challenges to overcome in order to implement an industrial IMTA model.

 

2. Amir Neori, Research Fellow at the University of Haifa, Israel, talks about the future perspective of IMTA.

 

3. Pierre Eyrolles, Research Assistant at Agrocampus Ouest, France, describes the goals amd aims of the INTEGRATE project roundtable expert groups.

 

4. Rui Pereira, Co-Founder and Lab and Scientific Director at ALGAplus, Portugal, talks about his experience with industrial and experimental IMTA models.

 

5. Xinhua Yuan, Senior Aquaculture Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, Italy, talks about the current global perspective of IMTA and how Europe fits into this perspective.

Introduction of the INTEGRATE project online training material

Lars Brunner, Support Scientist at The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), introducing the project’s online training material.