A collaborative ecosystem for Atlantic aquaculture

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By Milthon Lujan

by Andreas R. Graven*
New sustainable and profitable value chain systems for aquaculture production in the Atlantic regions will be developed in ASTRAL.

ASTRAL (All Atlantic Ocean Sustainable, Profitable and Resilient Aquaculture) is a HORIZON 2020 project recently financed under the Blue Growth programme.

It has a budget close to 8 million Euro and is led by NORCE – Norwegian Research Centre.

The project will contribute to the implementation of the Belém Statement (e.g. agreement signed by EU, Brazil and South Africa to develop a strategic partnership on marine research) and it will participate in building the All Atlantic Ocean Community.

The ASTRAL consortium includes 16 partners from 10 countries (Norway, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Nigeria, South Africa, Argentina and Brazil).

Sustainable, profitable and resilient value chains

The main goal of the project is to increase value and sustainability for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) production by developing new, resilient, and profitable value chains.

In IMTA production, multiple aquatic species from different trophic levels are farmed together. Waste from one species is used as inputs (fertilisers and food) for another species.

ASTRAL will develop new, sustainable, profitable and resilient value chains for IMTA production within the framework of existing, emerging and potential Atlantic markets.

ASTRAL goals include the increase of circularity and the achievement of zero-waste aquaculture systems, as well as the creation of appropriated business models to increasing profitability.

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Biosensors, IoT and AI data analytics

Potential climate risks and emerging pollutants (microplastics, harmful algae blooms, pathogens) will be assessed, together with the development of innovative technology (specific sensors and biosensors, IoT and AI data analytics), with the final aim to provide monitoring recommendations to policymakers.

Sharing knowledge and capacity development are among ASTRAL priorities, to build a collaborative ecosystem along the Atlantic Ocean with industrial partners, SMEs, scientists, policymakers, social representatives and other relevant stakeholders.

A multidisciplinary team of experts

– The ASTRAL consortium assembles a multidisciplinary team of experts from different disciplines (e.g. marine biology, environmental management, economics, business administration, computer engineering) as well as SMEs and other relevant stakeholders from several countries along the Atlantic Ocean.

– In ASTRAL, we have the best possible basis to fulfill the project’s main goal, both for the northern and southern regions: to make the aquaculture practices more sustainable, increasing the circularity, the resilience and the profitability, says project coordinator Elisa Ravagnan at NORCE.

Ravagnan and her colleagues started their work on September 1st and had the official project kick-off in a digital meeting on September 21st.

The ASTRAL consortium

The ASTRAL consortium includes Research and Technology Organisations (NORCE, LEITAT, SAMS CSIR, CONICET, Marine Institute, NIOMR), Universities (Federal University of Rio Grande, University of Cape Town), SMEs (BioceanOR, EGM, Crowdhelix, M&O Partners, Viking Aquaculture), associations/industrial cluster (PoleMer Bretagne Atlantique) and intergovernmental organizations (AIR Centre).

-We are very excited to start this project, says Ravagnan.

– We are looking forward to collaborate with stakeholders from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as with all the projects financed under the same programme, to build together the best solutions for sustainable aquaculture in the Atlantic Ocean, says Ravagnan.

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Elisa Ravagnan
Researcher II – NORCE
Phone: +47 51 87 55 34
Office Address: Nygårdsgaten 112, 5008 Bergen, Norway

Source: NORCE Research

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