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

INTEGRATE expert groups discuss IMTA technical issues

INTEGRATE’s Work Package 4 is engaged in the creation of expert groups to exchange current knowledge of IMTA in the Atlantic Area. The work plan envisages four thematic round-tables per country where key experts from industry, academia, state institutions etc. discuss the gaps, needs and new technologies identified as relevant for each individual Atlantic Area country. IMTA best practice is thus defined at national level before being synthesised into best practice for the Atlantic Area as a whole.

The four roundtables are meant to deal with the following topics:

  1. Technical.
  2. Environmental.
  3. Economic.
  4. Social.

Expert groups discuss three sub-topics at each of the round-tables: a)Definition of best practice, b) Bottlenecks to the development of best practice, c) Priority areas for development of best practice.

INTEGRATE partners organised the first round-tables to discuss topic 1 between March and May 2018. CTAQUA hosted the Spanish round-table in El Puerto de Santa María on 22 March, IPMA and ALGA+ hosted the Portuguese round-table in Olhão on 12 April, NUIG and ISC hosted the Irish round-table in Galway on 13 April and CEVA and AGROCAMPUS OUEST hosted the French round-table in Rennes on 25 April. .

Partners used different round-table formats depending on the size of the national expert groups and the time available. In most cases they were plenary sessions followed by sub-topic discussions in separate or single groups. The British round-table, however, consisted of a set of interviews with experts hosted by SAMS in the weeks leading up to the Aquaculture UK 2018 conference in Aviemore on 23 & 24 May.


The Spanish expert group had its meeting on 22 March 2018


Round-table discussions were fruitful and experts raised key points that need to be addressed in each of the Atlantic Area countries in order to facilitate a successful transition towards industrial IMTA. Perhaps the most important was the need for a European consensus definition of IMTA . INTEGRATE partners have since agreed to organise a bespoke event where European experts will agree on a suitable definition.

The summary results of the 5 separate round-tables are presented below, according to sub-topic and with details according to partner countries. In general, it was felt that there was a substantial lack of technical expertise, with regard to both production of species for all IMTA components, and knowledge of their interactions. This hampered the ability to define best-practice, and was the major bottleneck to development of IMTA. Contained within ‘technical expertise’ are many distinct factors, as detailed in the table. As anticipated, the bottlenecks and priority areas for development are mirror images of each other.



Best practices are generally known for the component species but need to be developed for IMTA specific issues – definition of degree of separation/consideration of pathogen and contaminant transfer/definition of degree of trophic integration UK
What degree of trophic differentiation between species is appropriate i.e. when does polyculture become IMTA? F, IE
What constitutes ‘the same system’, with regard to nutrient flows? F, UK, IE
What are the ‘correct’ relative production volumes? F, ES
Local strains of component species should be used F, UK, IE
Attention should be given to the complementarity of resources e.g. phytoplankton versus macroalgae F
Attention should be given to the complementarity of space, both vertical and horizontal F
Attention should be given to the complementarity of season between organisms in the system F
Design of flows must be suited to operation control systems ES


Lack of technical knowledge, skills and tools F, UK, IE, ES, P
Lack of technology transfer from research to industry
Lack of experience hampers up-scaling
Lack of hatcheries/seed stock for IMTA species, particularly benthic/invertebrate component UK, IE
Difficulty in managing several species; the focus is invariably on the primary species F, IE
Interactions between species with regard to e.g. nutrient flows, pathogens and medicines is not yet understood or quantified F, IE, UK
Mismatch in scale of various industries as they are currently practiced UK

Technology transfer/travelling roadshow IE
Production experience and practical trials UK
Development of new species F, UK, IE
Design of IMTA management and control systems ES
Quantification of interactions (nutrient, pathogen, medicine etc.) F, ES, IE
Knowledge of appropriate separation distances and relative spatial requirements UK, IE
Larger installations; scale; critical mass UK, IE, P


The second roundtables to discuss topic 4 (social) are expected to take place in November 2018.

French IMTA day coming up on 26 June 2018

Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique, the Regional Council of Brittany, CEVA and the Anticipa Technopole will co-host an IMTA day on Tuesday 26 June 2018 at the lycée Le Dantec in Lannion (Brittany, France).


General public and local stakeholders from Brittany’s maritime area will be discussing:

  • Ongoing experiments and various projects concerning existing IMTA systems in the region and more generally in Europe.
  • Hurdles and opportunities: implementation at sea or on land, choice of species, land, acceptability…


The event will consist of:

– One plenary session presenting IMTA principles, State-of-the-art in France and the INTEGRATE Project.

– Three round-tables : 1/ Biology and interaction of species ; 2/ What production and management prosecces and technologies for IMTA ; 3/ Regulation, conflicts of use and societal acceptability around IMTA.

– One on-board visit of two aquaculture sites (CEVA and Symbiomer).



Programme French IMTA Day 26 June 2018_INTEGRATE


CEVA, Technopole ANTICIPA, Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique and the Brittany Region will host an “IMTA day” on 26 june 2018 in Lannion (Brittany)

This event aims to gather all stakeholders involved in the use and management of the Breton marine area. Presentations and round-tables will address:

  1. Ongoing experiments and various projects dealing with existing IMTA systems in Brittany and more generally in Europe.
  2. Bottlenecks and opportunities for IMTA development: land-based and sea-based sites, choice of species, land use, social acceptability, etc.

Programme available soon.

INTEGRATE partners host first French IMTA round-table in Rennes

CEVA and Agrocampus-Ouest hosted the first French round-table to discuss IMTA technical issues on 25 April 2018 in Rennes:

  • Definition of “Technical Best Practices”.
  • Technical bottlenecks for the development of IMTA systems.
  • Technical priority areas for development of IMTA systems.


Program Workshop_INTEGRATE_Technical Best Practices for IMTA systems_EN

First Portuguese expert round-table coming up in Olhão

IPMA’s Estação Piloto de Piscicultura de Olhão will host the first Portuguese round-table to discuss IMTA technical issues on 12 April 2018.

Work Package 4 envisages four thematic round-tables (technical; environmental; economic and social) per country with the aim of bringing key experts together (from industry, academia, state institutions etc.) to develop the concept of Best-Practice for IMTA in each Atlantic Area country, which will then be synthesised into best practice for the Atlantic Area as a whole.

Agenda Technical Workshop Olhão-INTEGRATE_12 April

Next Integrate project meeting

The next Integrate project meeting will take place at IPMA’s facilities in Olhão (Portugal) on 17-18 April 2018.