Dr. Eoghan Clifford, one of the ECOAQUA project directors. (Photo: NUI Galaway)
Innovative project seeks to improve fish farming efficiency
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Friday, January 12, 2018, 02:30 (GMT + 9)
An innovative multidisciplinary project led by the Galway National University of Ireland (NUI Galway) and the Athlone Institute of Technology seeks to improve the efficiency and management of farmed fish production in several continental freshwater areas.
The project received a grant of almost EUR 350,000 from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) through the Knowledge Gateway Scheme, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The ECOAQUA project is expected to provide new information and new methods, and to generate greater awareness, based on the development of new partnerships, research and innovation in the environment and health.
The initiative contemplates a series of activities that help to solve serious needs found by the industry and stakeholders of the aquaculture sector.
Among the many tasks envisaged, the project will analyze the environmental and energy performance of three freshwater aquaculture sites through exhaustive sampling and remote online monitoring of water parameters.
It will also try to facilitate the reuse of treated water, in order to reduce both the volumes of water extracted and those of discharges.
In addition, it seeks to enable the industry to comply with strict environmental regulations, and at the same time increase its production in a sustainable and profitable manner.
Besides, it will also test technological innovations together with the industry, to ensure that research is transferred easily and quickly to the aquaculture sector, and to assure its use to allow the sustainable growth of this sector.
Dr. Eoghan Clifford of the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, noted that although the aquaculture sector has been quite inactive, Ireland ranks fifth in value and seventh in volume in high-value fish species, with exports that support approximately 2,000 jobs.
Ireland developed a policy called FoodWise2025, whose main objective is the growth of food exports by 85 percent, which represents EUR 19,000 million in 2025.
Damien Toner, technical specialist in aquaculture at BIM, said they are eager to work on the ECOAQUA project, as they are confident that it will provide valuable research to improve fish farming practices.