Article: IMTA in Europe – will it work for us?

An article by  IDREEM coordinator Dr. Adam D. Hughes, Scottish Association For Marine Science, was published in the March 2016 edition of Aquaculture Europe Magazine. The article titled “Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture: will it work for us?”, illustrates the lessons learnt from IDREEM in understanding the challenges faced to incorporate IMTA in Europe and overcoming them.

After more than three years of systematical analyses of technology adoption in aquaculture across Europe, the IDREEM project canoutlines the challenges faced by the aquaculturists while they adopt IMTA. These challenges can be broken down into three different organisational levels: those that concern regulation, those that impact investment decisions by companies, and those that effect the farm management.

IMTA has the potential to deliver greater productivity an reduced environmental impact, while minimizing the depletion of resources. However a major bottleneck in its implementation is the fact that most of the costs of adopting IMTA (not just the finacial ones) are borne by the industries and yet the benefits of IMTA are not accrued by the industry, therefore there is little incentive for it to invest in IMTA.

The way forward

The IDREEM project has identified a number of tools that would allow this mismatch to be realigned:

  • a definition of IMTA that the industry can adopt and that can be understood by consumers and industry alike;
  • flexibility to deal with the spatial mismatch in scales between extractive components of IMTA and the fin-fish production, by pursuing a water body approach to IMTA and aquaculture;
  • The overcoming of the technical and biological constraints of benthic IMTA;
  • the development of a market for aquacultured seaweed in Europe.

There is growing commercial interest in the development of IMTA, as well as clear policy drivers for its further development, however the conditions are not yet in place in Europe to allow for its wide scale adoptio. If these could be developed, then IMTA could become an important tool for the development of the economic and environmental sustainability of the European aquaculture industry.

Read the full article here


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