A new online training platform has been funded by the European Union which aims to reduce excessive water and energy consumption in aquaculture, through improved management practices amongst the sector’s professionals. It is hoped that by empowering aquaculture technicians with the knowledge to self-assess water and energy usage at their facilities, the overall sustainability and competitiveness of the sector can be improved across Europe.
The training programme will be free-to-use and developed by the EWEAS project, a consortium of five European organisations which have wide-ranging expertise of the training needs in the aquaculture sector. Several questionnaires will be sent to farm owners and farm managers so that EWEAS can address specific training and capacity building gaps in the industry.
The flexibility afforded by online training is particularly valuable to aquaculture professionals, who often work in remote areas, making face-to-face training more difficult.
Alejandro Lafarga Martinez, coordinator of the project, said:“EWEAS’ robust training platform will provide expert-led content and promote work-based learning in the aquaculture sector. The platform will benefit plant managers, farm technicians and other aquaculture professionals, providing them with the knowledge to carry out self-management of energy and water consumption. Not only will this improve company productivity, but this will also vastly improve the sustainability of the sector and protect the environment.”
Digital learning has already demonstrated success in the industry, with high uptake for courses in wastewater, carbon emissions and other areas. As well as the direct benefits of the knowledge gained from the course, trainees will benefit from greater access to further training opportunities, and a competitive advantage in the labour market.
The aquaculture sector has grown exponentially in recent decades, accounting for over 20% of all seafood produced in Europe, and almost half of all seafood produced globally. Despite this, growth has slowed in Europe in recent years, with efforts to match production levels in Asia falling short. The high energy and water requirements caused by the pumps, aerators and other high-consumption technologies have contributed to this slowed growth. Through the e-learning platform, EWEAS will help technicians to develop practical skills for operating and managing these systems as efficiently and sustainably as possible.
The EWEAS launch took place in Valencia, Spain, on 24-25 January 2019. The project will run until May 2021. The project website will be launching soon at www.eweasproject.eu .