AQUABEST - A leader in sustainable aquaculture

DTU Aqua in Hirtshals, Denmark is hosting international AQUABEST-meeting on sustainable fish farming in the Baltic Sea Region. The project aims, among other things, to transfer the technology of the Danish high-tech and environmentally friendly Model Trout Farms to sustainable saltwater farming.

Aquaculture has been the fastest growing food production sector globally during the last two decades. In opposite to the global trend, aquaculture production in the eastern Baltic Sea region has stagnated. A new Interreg/EU-project involving partners from eight countries hopes to change that - with a strong focus on sustainable practices and technologies.

"Fish farming is an industry that holds considerable development and export potential - provided that it is conducted in an environmentally friendly manner using the latest green technology and know-how, and that is what this project is all about," says Danish project leader and senior advisory scientist Alfred Jokumsen, National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua).

The EU funded AQUABEST-project involves 14 partners from 8 countries and unites a broad range of representatives from national and regional authorities, researchers, producer organizations, feed industry as well as national and international organizations.

The first project meeting is to take place next week at DTU Aqua in Hirtshals, Denmark (from the 18th to the 20th April of 2012).

As part of the meeting the participants will get the opportunity to visit and learn from the cutting-edge farming technologies of the high-tech and environmentally friendly Model Trout Farms that have been developed in Denmark in collaboration between DTU Aqua and the Danish industry. The participants will visit Lerkenfeldt Fish Farm at Farsø and Abild Fish Farm at Videbæk.

Environmentally friendly Model Trout farms

The Danish Model Trout farms are an environmental success.
"The high-tech and eco-friendly Model Trout Farms use water from boreholes rather than from watercourses. Consequently, the watercourse is free from obstacles such as dams and sluices, and wild fish can move freely to and from their breeding grounds and the sea, hugely benefiting the natural populations," says Alfred Jokumsen, DTU Aqua.

Furthermore, Model Trout Farms are based on recirculation technology, meaning that a Model Trout farm reuses as much as 95 percent of the water, dramatically reducing water consumption. The farms clean the water internally by means of mechanical and biological filtration. Afterwards the water is led into a constructed wetland where the remaining nutrients - such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and organic matter - are removed.

"A main goal of AQUABEST is to transfer these technologies to other regions and further develop them to adapt in brackish water conditions of the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, although recirculation farms already release much less nutrients in the effluent than conventional farms, nitrogen release of these farms can be further diminished," explains Alfred Jokumsen.

DTU Aqua will also contribute to AQUABEST with a feasibility study to investigate the possibilities for implementing the new technologies in the Baltic region. This study will include geography, climate, population structures and political and economic conditions, water quality, environmental legislation, level of education, processing conditions, markets etc.

About Aquabest:
Aquabest will target four specific problems and demonstrate practices to solve them.

1. Aquaculture relies upon nutrients imported from oceans thus contributing to the eutrofication of the Baltic Sea.

2. Spatial planning knowledge has not been transferred throughout the Baltic Sea Region. Aquaculture has therefore not developed in offshore or other remote areas with less environmental effects, competition and conflicts.

3. Feasibility of recirculation farming has not been assessed and technology transferred throughout the Baltic Sea Region. Furthermore, the technology needs to be adapted from fresh water environment to the Baltic Sea water environment.

4. Licensing systems do not always encourage adoption of eco-efficient technologies and practices.

AQUABEST, a project of 14 partners from 8 countries, was selected for funding by EU's Baltic Sea Region Program 2007-2013, and was kicked off last autumn.

In addition to project partners, associated partners such as international organizations HELCOM and ICES, national and regional authorities, aquaculture producer organizations, feed suppliers and non-governmental organizations contribute to the project.

AQUABEST is coordinated by the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute.

Contact information:
Further information can be requested from partner organizations as well as the coordinator representative Senior Scientist Jouni Vielma, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute jouni.vielma@rktl.fi,  tel +358 205 751 522, or  Senior Advisory Scientist Alfred Jokumsen, DTU Aqua, tlf.  + 45 35 88 32 57 or ajo@aqua.dtu.dk.

Text

by Line Reeh, DTU Aqua.