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"Aquaculture, not the Internet, represents the most promising investment opportunity of the 21st Century."

- Peter Drucker, Management Expert & Economist


Ireland to re-invent Danish 'Model farms'

An innovative project that aims to increase Irish aquaculture output to 45,000 tonnes per annum by 2020 has been launched this week.

Called Ecoaqua, it is being led by NUI Galway and Athlone Institute of Technology and will focus on improving production efficiency in freshwater sites. It has received €348,781 in funding under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), in a bid to optimise innovative technologies and processes developed through the Morefish project.

An organic perch farm run by Keywater Fisheries Ltd and Bord Iascaigh Mhara
© Ecoaqua

Led by Dr Eoghan Clifford from NUI Galway and Professor Neil Rowan from Athlone Institute of Technology, with support from Bord Iascaigh Mhara's technical aquaculture team, Ecoaqua will address critically important needs identified by industry and aquaculture stakeholders including:

  • Analysing the environmental and energy performance of three freshwater aquaculture sites by extensive sampling and remote online monitoring of water parameters.
  • Facilitating the re-use of the treated water, thereby reducing both the volumes of extracted and discharged waters.
  • Enabling the industry to meet stringent environmental regulation while increasing production in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.
  • Piloting technological innovations with industry to ensure the research is easily and rapidly transferrable to the aquaculture sector.
  • Ensuring technological innovations and research results can be leveraged to enable the sustainable growth of this high-potential sector.
  • Enable the industry to leverage the scientific outputs from the project to communicate with government, policymakers and regulators and the public.

Industry involvement 

Sites involved include Marine Harvest (Lough Altan), a traditional-flow smolt production site with drum filters and polymerised belt filter for treatment of effluent water; Marine Harvest (Pettigo), a traditional flow-through smolt production site with drum filters for treatment of effluent; Keywater's organic perch RAS; and IDAS, a group of four pond-based flow-through farms with no water treatment on the effluent water.