New aquaculture tool kit to boost sustainable ‘Blue Growth’ in Europe

‘Tool kit will not only improve the industry itself, but also public perception of aquaculture’ – Professor Trevor Telfer, project lead TAPAS, a collaboration between 15 European partner institutions.

By SeaWestNews

The European Union, will embrace a new aquaculture tool kit next year so it can continue to develop and fulfill its potential to deliver sustainable Blue Growth in its 28-member countries.

Developed by the EU-funded Horizon 2020 Tools and Aquaculture for Aquaculture Sustainability (TAPAS) project, the program which will be completed in February 2020, will deliver a suite of tools and guidance for use by both aquaculture developers and regulating authorities across Europe.

Led by Professor Trevor Telfer of the University of Stirling, TAPAS is a collaboration between 15 European partner institutions that aims to address key sustainability challenges in the European aquaculture industry.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector in the world.

However, the EU self-sufficiency in terms of seafood is low, with nearly 70% of the seafood consumed being imported. To turn this situation, EU member states prepared national strategies for an ambitious 25% growth by 2020. The TAPAS project will provide scientific research data to support this action.

Case studies throughout Europe have tested and validated the approaches developed by the team to ensure scientific rigour and reliability in the tools that will be provided to the industry.

A range of species including salmon, trout, sea bass, sea bream, carp, oysters and mussels have been covered by the case studies, which include both marine and freshwater environments. The production environments and technologies are also representative of those used in European aquaculture, ensuring that the tools are well-aligned with the industry which they are intended to support.

“The existing tools needed by the aquaculture industry to make the thorough sustainability assessments are often difficult to understand, making them inaccessible to those they are aimed at,” says Professor Telfer.

“The regulatory and licensing process in Europe needs to be more transparent, with better communication of decision-making and regulatory frameworks. This would not only improve the industry itself, but also public perception of aquaculture.”

 “As the TAPAS project enters its final months, the team is preparing to launch the Aquaculture Toolbox, a web-based decision support framework that will host the tools and guidance from the project,” says Professor Telfer.

“The team have worked hard to make the Aquaculture Toolbox accessible and easy to understand for a range of users from industry, policy and planning.”

“The future of European aquaculture depends on securing the sustainability of the industry. With this help, the European aquaculture industry can continue to develop and fulfil its potential to deliver sustainable Blue Growth for European nations.”

(image courtesy of TAPAS)