Value Chains & Case Studies

New low trophic species and processes

Low trophic species, such as molluscs and macroalgae have virtually no input requirements during the grow-out phase and can provide significant environmental and economic benefits. The expansion of low trophic species culture would increase resilience and adaptive capacity, biodiversity and robustness of the European and Atlantic aquaculture industries.

Many of the species studied by AquaVitae have been the focus of previous studies, but have not yet reached their commercial potential. Other species are new and require more research and innovation (e.g. new macroalgae species and sea cucumbers). The project will also integrate these species in multi-trophic aquaculture systems as well as biofloc technology.

Photo by Sylvain Huchette, France Haliotis.

Optimising production and processes

Photo by Urd Grandorf, Ocean Rainforest.

Shellfish represent the largest volume of existing low trophic aquaculture production in Europe, but production has stagnated in recent years. AquaVitae will investigate gaps that are hindering expansion and growth of the industry, including production and on-growing of native species in areas that currently rely on introduced species (e.g. oyster culture). Shellfish aquaculture will be expanded to new areas and to new countries based on technology and knowledge transfer. The research will also focus on the use of mussels as a mitigation tool for eutrophication.

In Brazil the production of both fresh and marine species of finfish are constrained by issues related to selective breeding for consumer preferences, and this will be addressed by AquaVitae, utilising knowledge from European finfish aquaculture systems.

Moving towards zero waste and a circular economy in aquaculture production

There is a strong correlation between increased levels of sustainability and aquaculture of low trophic species. AquaVitae will contribute to utilise by-products (e.g. utilizing shell from blue mussel production), and develop and test aquaculture feeds.

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Photo by Xosé A. Álvarez Salgado, CSIC.