INTEGRATE fosters cooperation for industrial transition towards Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) in the Atlantic Area

Bangor University, a research group working in aquaculture since the mid-1960s, Joins the INTEGRATE project

Bangor University’s College of Environmental Science and Engineering has joined the INTEGRATE project until the project closure in 2023. Participants include Dr Jonathan King, based in the School of Ocean Sciences, and Dr Nathalie Fenner, of the School of Natural Sciences. The group has worked in aquaculture research since the mid-1960s and we now operate the Shellfish Centre, dedicated to research supporting that sector. Much of our aquaculture work has been supported by the EU, including INTERREG; Bangor were the lead partner in the SEAFARE project for example.

To support the project, we will welcome two additional members of staff, including Conchúr Hughes who joined the team last month. Conchúr will work with Jon to map site suitability for IMTA production using different species combinations. The method estimates the optimal biological conditions for the three species and combines these. The figure shows overall site suitability for Salmo salar, Mytilus edulis, and Laminaria digitata, focusing on Ireland the three marked sites A-C are sites with the best environment for all three species. Conchúr informed us that he ‘recently completed my MSc in Marine Biology at Bangor and joined up with Jonathan King to continue the work I started during my Master’s project. My role within the INTEGRATE project involves identifying multiple species with a high potential for use within an Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) system and creating habitat suitability models to identify the optimal location to establish a new IMTA system using these species. I’m thrilled to be able to continue working in this field, which has given me the opportunity to further develop my skills as a Marine Biologist’.

We are also in the process of recruiting a researcher to work with Dr Nathalie Fenner, who will be responsible for obtaining and analysing the main input data to model the fate of carbon and nitrogen in a ‘Pond IMTA’ system, using previously collected data as well as new data. A Pond IMTA C & N model will be developed using stable isotopes, with partners (e.g., GreenCoLAB in Portugal) to provide an evaluation of the emissions and bioremediation potential of IMTA primary producers and/or different IMTA systems to support decisions on management strategies and species selection.

UPLGC-ECOAQUA diversifying the low trophic species to be produced in Land based IMTA systems

Joining the INTEGRATE consortium is a great opportunity for the Aquaculture Research Group of the ECOAQUA University Institute of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as it allows to join forces with other research groups, focusing on similar research lines, to develop common methodologies to implement Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture Along the Atlantic Ocean.


Previously the IU-ECOAQUA Aquaculture Research Group has performed research on the integrated production of low trophic invertebrates’ species such as abalone together with macroalgae production in Land based IMTA systems.




In the INTEGRATE project, the aim is to diversify the low trophic species to be produced in Land based IMTA systems and to test the integration of different invertebrates’ species together in a single production unit to determine the viability of such integrated production. More specifically, the experiments will test the integration of Holothuria sanctori in European abalone production in a Land-based IMTA system that also integrates Ulva rigida and Gracilaria sp. The information obtained will contribute to the footprint reduction of the production method and the determination of IMTA’s environmental contribution to define the benefits of such integration methods.

A first exchange between partners focusing on sea cucumber production (Agro Campus and ULPGC) took place in November 2022 to determine the methods to be employed at different sites and establish similar experimental and analytical methods to facilitate data exchange.


GreenCoLab will help improving the sustainability of aquaculture systems in the Portuguese and European scenario


November 24, 2022 – GreenCoLab (GCL) joined to the extension of INTEGRATE project to help improving the sustainability of aquaculture systems in the Portuguese and European scenario.

GreenCoLab is a non-profit private organization and a collaborative platform between research and industry, whose research & innovation agenda is based on the exploration of algae biotechnology. The GreenCoLab’s multidisciplinary team and partners (Centre of Marine Sciences – CCMAR, National Laboratory of Energy and Geology – LNEG, University of Aveiro, Allmicroalgae, Necton, Algaplus, and Sparos) covers expertise across the whole algae value chain; from the lab to large scale production, strain optimization, scale-up, harvesting, biorefining to commercialization.

As the demand for seafood has grown over the last decades, technology has enabled more efficient food production in both coastal marine water and the open ocean. The solution to feeding the world’s increasing population to farm seafood responsibly and sustainably, which will be ensured by the development of innovative technologies and processes in aquaculture, such as Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) proposed by the INTEGRATE that contains a specific work package (WP5) to address the sustainability of these systems which Greencolab will lead.

“We are very pleased to be in such an inclusive and ambitious project, where we will have the opportunity to significantly improve IMTA management and support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture and algae industry” declared Dr. Lais Speranza, leader of the GreenCoLab Sustainability team and main contact of GCL in the INTEGRATE project.

GreenCoLab will be responsible for the environmental analysis of INTEGRATE by performing the following actions:

  1. Conduction of a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the land based IMTA system of our associate partner ALGAPLUS and then to compare the IMTA systems to traditional aquaculture systems using different scientific approaches;
  2. Modeling of the system’s fate for both nitrogen and carbon;
  3. Developing a strategic plan for obtaining an ECOLABEL certification to boost the market value of IMTA products.

“It’s a very demanding project, with impressive future outcomes, that will impact not only our company and partners but also the community and stakeholders. With our LCA specialist team and our partner Algaplus, we will contribute actively to the WP5 activities by modeling the production systems and applying the LCA methodology to quantify the IMTA’s environmental contribution with a proposal for future certifications.” she concluded.

INTEGRATE EXTENSION: A capitalization opportunity for integrated multitrophic aquaculture






November 30, 2022 – In the line of contributing to the sustainability of the aquaculture sector one of the most significant projects is INTEGRATE, which concluded in June 2020. Among the results of this European project led by CTAQUA, the achievement of an exhaustive inventory of technical, socio-economic, environmental and legal aspects of the status of IMTA in the European Atlantic region was included. The development of new cultivation methods of several organisms, the elaboration of good practice guides for different systems, the definition of the IMTA concept, and the preparation of training materials are actions that brought this project to the top in terms of sustainability in aquaculture.

” However, it was clear that much remained to be done. In particular, new challenges arise to capitalize on the results, strengthen technical knowledge and expand the possibilities of IMTA with new species and new cultivation methods. At the end of last year, the opportunity arose to request an extension of the project, and we do not hesitate. Our application was positively evaluated and now we will start the second phase of INTEGRATE,” explains Erik Malta, head of CTAQUA’s applied research and innovation department.

This new stage of 16 months, also led by CTAQUA, will be carried out by a consortium of 9 organizations and companies from Spain, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The configuration of the consortium has changed, now joining the University of Bangor (Wales), the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), and the University of the Algarve and the Greencolab platform from Portugal.

“Much of the new phase of the project will focus on capitalizing on the results obtained in the first phase. Active contact with all stakeholders will be sought through online and face-to-face workshops and meetings, a course on good practices in IMTA will be structured based on the material developed during the first phase, and the results of scientific studies will be published,” he explains. New techniques to increase IMTA’s commercial potential will also be explored. During this extension period, CTAQUA will focus on the evaluation of the possibility of growing sea cucumbers in IMTA systems and on the development of a new cultivation method of Ulva sp.

In addition, as a novel action to expose the gastronomic potential of IMTA, the development of a menu composed of a combination of the cultivated organisms within these systems and their demonstration in showcookings will be achieve.” A virtual kick-off meeting with the new consortium partners has been hold, and we have started with the new pilot experiments and activities. In addition, through our usual communication channels, information will be offered on the virtual and face-to-face activities that INTEGRATE will organize during this year and 2023″ he concludes.

INTEGRATE is a project funded by ERDF through the INTERREG Atlantic Area 2014-2020 programme (project code EAPA_232/2016). For more information, you can go to the website of the INTEGRATE-IMTA project

INTEGRATE will participate in the INNOVAZUL event within the sustainability session

INTEGRATE will participate in the INNOVAZUL event within the sustainability session that will take place on the 29th of December from 12:00 to 13:00 at the Cadiz Congress Center (Palacio de Congresos).

Erik-jan Malta, Head of the Applied Research Department at Ctaqua Centro Tecnológico de Acuicultura (CTAQUA) will be responsible for representing the INTEGRATE project within the International Meeting of Knowledge and Blue Economy.

As project leader, he will introduce us to the world of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) from a sustainable point of view and explain the challenges and advances expected in the INTEGRATE project in this new phase of extension aimed at capitalisation.

InnovAzul is the meeting point for professionals from the Blue Economy sectors to promote innovation, knowledge transfer and the exchange of innovative  technological solutions that increase the competitiveness of industry and society.

This international meeting will promote the creation of networks and the exchange of best practices in transformative innovation policies and will contribute to aligning the business and research sectors, as well as defining the new roadmap for the Blue Economy innovation ecosystem.

At InnovAzul, participants will have the opportunity to collaborate, organise B2B meetings, network, find new partners, establish strategic alliances and synergies, as well as showcase innovative initiatives, solutions and projects that contribute to the sustainability towards a Blue and Green Economy.

We look forward to seeing you and sharing all about IMTA at this international meeting. All the programme is available in the following link:

INTEGRATE will participate in the 9th Conference of the Atlantic Stakeholder Platform in the workshop WHEN TECHNOLOGY MEETS AQUACULTURE A co-creation workshop to transfer knowledge and find synergies among different Atlantic Area Projects

The Atlantic stakeholder platform conference (ASPC 2022) offers the opportunity to present to the Atlantic Community new actors, projects and innovative ways of collaboration for implementation. The main objective of the ASPC 2022 is to involve the relevant actors of the Blue Economy in Europe and contribute to define the challenges and opportunities of its traditional and emerging sectors. It will be an essential point of interaction between technology-demanding companies, administrations, knowledge generators and technological agents for innovation, socio-economic development and employment in the maritime sectors. This type of initiative makes possible to promote the capitalisation of projects such as INTEGRATE.

INTEGRATE is a project that will foster cooperation in the European Atlantic Area to promote the industrial transition towards Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA). The project aims to make European Atlantic aquaculture more competitive and sustainable by applying circular economy principles, removing barriers to sectoral green growth and improving the quality and public image of aquaculture products. This will be achieved for the first time by adopting and communicating the principles and benefits of eco-innovation and eco-efficiency on which the IMTA concept is based. It will also facilitate the achievement of regional strategic objectives as the industry transitions towards resource-efficient technologies.

However, despite IMTA being encouraged by European Union (EU) policies such as the Blue Growth Strategy, the Atlantic Action Plan and RIS3, there still are socio-economic, administrative and legal bottlenecks hampering its development to its full potential. To overcome these, INTEGRATE supports meaningful cooperation between academia, the corporate sector and relevant authorities.

The aim of this workshop, which will take place under the name “When technology meets aquaculture”, is to co-create and experiment how technology solutions and tools developed for one maritime sector or activity can be transferred to a totally different and more traditional sector.

t will be a very dynamic and participatory workshop, where aquaculture businesses and technology startups will work together to find technology solutions to different challenges identified in the aquaculture framework. Some of these challenges have already been identified in the implementation of Integrate, but others could be brought to discussion during the workshop.

The workshop will be delivered as a hybrid event, both online and offline. Through the selection of challenges, participants will be divided into groups/rooms to co-create technological solutions that can overcome the identified challenges.

The outcomes of the workshop will focus on ideation of solutions, knowledge transfer, contribution to the digital transformation of a traditional sector and transfer of best practices to other organisations, sectors or territories. This could be the basis for further public-private collaborations, new projects or new business opportunities that will serve as the basis of this new capitalisation phase of Integrate.

To subscribe to the event you can do so through the following link: