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.

June-26-2019-Integrate-PressRelease-CTAQUA_EN

The INTEGRATE expert groups: Thematic Roundtables

Since Spring of 2018 when the technical workshops were completed by all partners, there has been a lot of workshop activity! Although we have not been able to coordinate timing of each workshop between all countries we have all been busy discussing the different IMTA topics of economics, social and regulatory aspects, and environmental aspects. A few of the main points from each of the workshop topics are summarised below. There will be a complete synthesised report of all workshops that have taken place produced later this year – keep your eye out for it on the INTEGRATE website or Twitter account!

 

Economic (Ireland – 12 experts, France – 16 experts)

Ireland: During a brainstorming session, each workshop participant was asked to come up with their top priorities for concepts to include in an economic best-practice definition. Of the 30 ideas submitted, 14 were contained in the first 2 categories: Ecosystem Services (7 contributions) – including the importance of incorporating non-market values, and Market Development (7 contributions) including market development for new IMTA products. The third category (4 contributions) was to do with Cooperation – and finding ways to incentivise cooperation between producers of different trophic levels. There was therefore quite some consistency between participants as to what should be included in the definition, and quite a few ideas for how this definition might be achieved.

 

The Irish experts discussing about economic bottlenecks and challenges for the development of IMTA.

 

France: This workshop took place on Monday 25th March, so the synthesis is under progress. The morning session was time to oral presentations in order to share information and initiate the discussion. In the afternoon, participants were split into 3 working groups with the same objectives: 1/ identify the key points which should be considered to build an “economic” definition of IMTA; 2/ Identify the economic bottlenecks to the development of IMTA; 3/ identify the priority axes for its development.

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Update on INTEGRATE learning materials

SAMS, as part of the INTEGRATE consortium, has been organising the creation and development of learning materials by all partners. The first set of learning materials have now gone live on the INTEGRATE website in their own dedicated portal.

http://integrate-imta.eu/category/training-materials/

 

The aim of the learning materials is to provide interested parties, be they students, aquaculture professionals or investors, with a diverse and stimulating series of lectures, films and presentations presenting the state of the art in European IMTA.  The diversity of experience and work undertaken by the INTEGRATE partners means that the project is in a key position to provide this information.

The learning materials at present include a key introductory lecture on IMTA by SAMS’s own Dr Adam Hughes, along with an in depth talk with David Attwood, the production director of LFO (Loch Fyne Oysters) about the practical issues of setting up a commercial IMTA site.  Our Spanish partners at CTAQUA provide us with a thorough look at their lagoon based IMTA system, and IPMA (Portugal) and CEVA (France) provide a mixture of lectures and short films looking at lagoon based systems and the seaweed cultivation component of IMTA.

Now that the first set of material is online, SAMS is looking to curate this, and will shortly provide a course narrative to the homepage that will further coordinate the learning experience. In addition, we envisage new material coming online shortly from other project partners. As 2019 progresses, we look forward to more learning material from all partners, and this will develop on themes already undertaken, as well as the practical results from partner’s pilot actions. We hope that as the project progresses, the learning materials produced will be the go-to site for anyone interested in learning about IMTA.

INTEGRATE implements new project actions

As the INTEGRATE work plan unfolds, 2019 has brought us the implementation of new project actions in Work Packages 3 and 6.

WP 3 Capitalization

WP 3 leader SAMS is leading the organisation of a series of workshops to look at eco-efficient innovative technology for aquaculture in each of the Atlantic Area countries (Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Portugal and Spain). These will be one-day events targeting industry and research professionals and they are likely to tie in with living labs where relevant partners will be demonstrating their IMTA pilot actions to interested parties.

Workshops will focus on the circular economy aspect of IMTA and its potential to change the environmental footprint of aquaculture in the Atlantic regions where the project is being implemented.

Finally, INTEGRATE partners have also started to collect inputs for policy documents covering each of the five Atlantic Area countries. These will outline the regulatory situation IMTA faces in the larger aquaculture framework. We envisage this being used by each partner as a policy briefing with their governmental regulators, both to address bottlenecks to development, and to raise the profile and potential of IMTA in each country.

 

WP 6 Defining a framework for IMTA development: Action plan for the Atlantic Area

New WP 6 actions entail the diagnosis of the regulation environment affecting IMTA in each of the Atlantic Area countries. Partners are working on SWOT matrices to assess technical, environmental, social and economic aspects related to IMTA development in each country. WP 6 leader Agrocampus Ouest is processing the results to highlight the main challenges that need to be overcome in order to flesh out IMTA development in the Atlantic Area.

Agrocampus Ouest is engaged in producing a set of indicators to assess Atlantic Area countries’ IMTA regulation environments.

WP 6 concludes with partners drawing up a strategy and an attached action plan for the development of IMTA in the Atlantic Area. This includes:

  • The main challenges that IMTA development faces in terms of aquaculture sustainability;
  • An overview of the current situation of IMTA in the Atlantic Area resulting from the outcomes of WP 6 actions 1 & 2, i.e. map of IMTA in the Atlantic Area, identification of levers and bottlenecks to IMTA development and assessment of stakeholder attitudes;
  • The main challenges to be overcome by IMTA practitioners with recommendations and propositions to improve the current situation, as well as suggestions for partnerships to set-up these propositions;
  • A set of conclusions highlighting the priority research lines and the partners that need to be involved in order to carry out the proposed action plan.

INTEGRATE on social media

Since the start of the project in 2017, INTEGRATE has managed to build significant interest in its contribution to the industrial transition towards Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) in the European Atlantic Area. Following of our social media feeds has grown steadily over time and we are delighted to welcome new members to the INTEGRATE community almost on a daily basis. Tune in and follow us if you are interested in sustainable aquaculture, blue growth and the circular economy!

Twitter: @INTEGRATE_IMTA. Follow us on Twitter to catch up with the latest project developments. Be the first to comment and share our newsfeed with your own contacts.

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