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


INTEGRATE facilitates the industrial transition towards Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) in the European Atlantic Area.

IMTA systems are a circular economy paradigm. They contribute to making Atlantic aquaculture more sustainable and competitive, thus unlocking green growth within the European aquaculture sector.

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 INTEGRATE approach

    • i) strengthens IMTA collaborative networks
    • ii) provides a level playing field to capitalise available scientific and technical knowledge
    • iii) translates the innovative solutions provided by IMTA into technical, legal and administrative reality
    • iv) delivers best practice to maximise resource efficiency at Atlantic aquaculture farming sites


The INTEGRATE challenge

Aquaculture is a major maritime industry in all five of the European Atlantic Area countries. Its current and future development entails significant challenges, such as effective environmental management at farming sites, the European north-south divide, regulatory barriers, long licensing processes, lack of consumer knowledge and acceptance (social licence), competition for space with other maritime activities, etc. INTEGRATE seeks to overcome these challenges through strong regional cooperation, increasing competiveness and supporting green development within the aquaculture sector.

The INTEGRATE approach builds on the potential identified in the regions involved through Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3). It also resonates with the reformed Common Fisheries Policy and the Atlantic Action Plan, where improvement of green growth, productivity, competitiveness and environmental sustainability play a major role. The project tackles aquaculture challenges in the Atlantic Area through multi-level stakeholder cooperation, involving relevant governance schemes to improve the effectiveness of territorial solutions.

A diverse range of stakeholders will be targeted to enhance sustainability, unlocking new market opportunities for IMTA and positioning European Atlantic aquaculture as an international benchmark.


Work Packages

The INTEGRATE project’s work plan is structured around 6 Work Packages (WPs), ranging from project management (WP 1) and communication (WP 2) to the capitalisation of existing and new knowledge of IMTA (WP 3), the definition of Atlantic IMTA best practices (WP 4), environmental performance of Atlantic IMTA systems (WP 5) and the definition of a mid and long-term Atlantic IMTA strategy (WP 6).


Work Package 1 – Project Management

Lead partner                                                CTAQUA

Work Package leader                                 Martha Bonnet Dunbar




To provide overall management of the project in order to ensure it delivers on the approved work plan and meets all contractual obligations timely and to a high standard.

Specific objectives:

  1. To ensure the project fulfils the objectives set out in the Project Approved Form within the approved budget and time schedule.
  2. To harmonise timely and meaningful communication among the partners and between the partnership and the Programme Authorities.
  3. To manage technical, financial and contractual issues.

Work Package 2 – Project Communication

Lead partner                                                CTAQUA

Work Package leader                                 Martha Bonnet Dunbar




To communicate project achievements to target audiences and facilitate uptake of INTEGRATE outcomes by end‐users in the Atlantic Area and beyond.

Specific objectives:

  1. To effectively communicate project actions and their outputs to relevant stakeholders and the wider public in the Atlantic Area.
  2. To contribute to improving the partnership’s outreach and networking capabilities.
  3. To implement the INTEGRATE Dissemination and Exploitation Plan.

Work package 2 results:

  1. Action 2 report: Portfolio of dissemination resources and tools
  2. Action 4 report: Press Clipping report
  3. Action 5 report: INTEGRATE Project Layman’s Report
  4. Action 6 report: Portfolio of outreach activities


Work Package 3 – Capitalisation

Lead partner                                                SAMS

Work Package leader                                 Lars Brunner




To deliver the INTEGRATE legacy by transferring IMTA best practices to stakeholders from all regions, previously developed and identified by the partners during the project.

Specific objectives:

  1. To guide industrial transition towards IMTA production processes in the Atlantic Area.
  2. To transfer knowledge generated by the project to aquaculture students and professionals via relevant training and capacity building sessions.
  3. To demonstrate current IMTA developments to a wider group of professionals, end-users and representatives of public bodies by giving them open access to the INTEGRATE pilot actions.
  4. To provide information and inputs to support the development of future regulatory frameworks favouring the industrial upscaling of IMTA in the Atlantic Area.

Work package 3 results:

  1. Action 2 teaching material: Students Knowledge Transfer: Training activities
  2. Action 3 report: Professionals Knowledge Transfer: Thematic workshops on eco-efficient practices in aquaculture
  3. Action 4 report: Professionals experience transfer to practice: Living Labs


Work Package 4 – Understanding IMTA Best Practices in the Atlantic Area

Lead partner                                                NUIG/CEVA

Work Package leader                                 Jessica Ratcliff/Bertrand Jacquemin

Email                                                    /



To identify the knowns and unknowns of IMTA and its best-practice as it stands today and to develop an appropriate path for its continued development in the Atlantic Area.

Specific objectives:

  1. To review the IMTA state-of-the-art in the Atlantic Area.
  2. To define IMTA best-practice per country.
  3. To implement pilot actions to address some of the next steps in the upscaling of Atlantic IMTA:
    1. Develop suitable cultivation technologies & techniques for high value seaweeds / summer species.
    2. Test technologies to support IMTA’s underdeveloped benthic component.
    3. Enhance the environmental efficiency of near-shore and land-based IMTA.
  4. To provide a platform for knowledge sharing within the partnership.

Work package 4 results:

  1. Action 2: Creation of AA expert groups to exchange current knowledge and develop best practices
    1. Action 1 report: Review of IMTA State of the Art in the Atlantic Area
    2. Action 2a report: Synopsis of the Thematic Roundtables
    3. Action 2b report: Report of the IMTA Definition Event
    4. Action 4a report: Implementation Guide for Porphyra sp. hatchery cultivation
    5. Action 4b report: Implementation Guide for Porphyra sp. cultivation for oyster farmers
    6. Action 5a report: Case study – Commercial bottlenecks to IMTA in earthern ponds in the southern Atlantic Area
    7. Action 5b report: Earthen ponds standard model guidelines

Work Package 5 – IMTA’s Environmental Contribution

Lead partner                                                IPMA

Work Package leader                                 Maria Emília Cunha




To assess IMTA’s contribution to reducing the environmental impacts attached to aquaculture operations in view of supporting a paradigm shift towards a circular economy.

Specific objectives:

  1. To deliver a model capable of predicting the environmental performance of IMTA operations.
  2. To perform Life Cycle Assessments and Emergy accounting at INTEGRATE pilots to assess IMTA systems’ environmental impacts from cradle to grave.
  3. To design an action plan that will facilitate a greater contribution of IMTA to the circular economy.

Work package 5 results:

  1. Action 1 report: IMTA common environmental concept model
  2. Action 2 report: LCA of aquaculture systems: comparison between semi-intensive/extensive pond IMTA and semi-intensive traditional fishpond production


Work Package 6 – Defining a framework for IMTA development: Action plan for the Atlantic Area

Lead partner                                                AGROCAMPUS-OUEST

Work Package leader                                 Marie Lesueur




To identify the hindrances to the development of IMTA in the Atlantic Area and deliver an agenda & strategy for change-makers.

Specific objectives:

  1. To identify producers’ difficulties implementing IMTA.
  2. To understand the social and regulatory bottlenecks to IMTA dynamics in the Atlantic Area.
  3. To map IMTA facilities within the Atlantic area and list IMTA hurdles and levers.
  4. To provide a full assessment of the current state of IMTA development in the Atlantic area.
  5. To deliver a Strategy Plan to enhance the IMTA development in the Atlantic Area.

Work package 6 results:

  1. Action 1 report: State of the opportunities for the development of the IMTA sector in the Atlantic Area (pdf in English; en Français)
  2. Action 2 report: Stories of IMTA systems implementation in the Atlantic Area (pdf in English; en Français)
  3. Action 3 report: Diagnosis of the IMTA sector in the Atlantic Area (pdf in English; en Français)
  4. Action 4 report: Drafting a strategic plan to develop IMTA in the Atlantic Area (pdf in English; en Français)