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

The INTEGRATE final event

Experts in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture met to present the results of INTEGRATE. CTAQUA held the final technical hybrid conference of the project on June 13, in CTAQUA’s facilities located in El Puerto de Santa Maria from 10:00 to 17:00.

One of the purposes of this event was to create a network of knowledge transfer between scientific and innovation organizations to companies in the sector. This event provided the opportunity to share experiences of other relevant projects in the field of aquaculture sustainability and IMTA systems such as ASTRAL, Aquavitae and BIOGEARS.

We also counted with the participation of the 7 organizations from the 5 countries that are part of the project consortium. Along with CTAQUA (Spain), leader of the project, INTEGRATE partners include the Agrocampus Ouest Research Institute (France), the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (Portugal), Bangor University (United Kingdom), Irish Seaweed Consultancy (Ireland), Universidade do Algarve (Portugal), University of Las Palmas de Gran Canarias (ULPGC) and GreenCoLAB (Portugal)”.

During the event, various experts explained their contribution to the project and the multiple benefits of these systems. Among others, the optimization of the nutrients necessary for the growth of different species at different trophic levels. A smart way to encourage diversification of aquaculture production, which has great potential to improve the resilience and economic stability of producers with a holistic approach.

New techniques have also been explored to increase IMTA’s commercial potential. Among other activities, the most relevant results were focus on the diversification of cultivated species and simulation models of IMTA productive scenarios in estuaries, highlighting opportunities and species of interest in IMTA aquaculture production.

In addition, as was reflected during the intervention of Anna Soler and Susan Whelan from Irish Seaweed Consultancy, important technical knowledge has been generated on the cultivation of the macroalgae Himanthalia elongata. Other species for which technical knowledge has been improved are Porphyra spp, Codium spp, Palmaria palmaria and Ulva spp, species of high economic value and that can be perfectly integrated into these multi-trophic systems.

In the case of other low trophic level animals, as Gercende Courtois explained, knowledge of several species of sea cucumbers such as Holoturia forskaii, Holoturia tuberculata and Holuturia arguinensis, which are in high demand on the international market, has been promoted. The project also contributed to the gastronomic valorization of these species as part of the important work of making them known to society.