Throughout the course of the INTEGRATE project, our partners have been busy presenting posters about the project at various conferences and events, including at Seagriculture 2019 in Ostend and the European Aquaculture Society conferences in Montpellier in 2018 and Berlin in 2019! Here are the posters we have presented so far:
IMTA in France: factsheet available in English and French
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.