IU-ECOAQUA presents advances in new land-based integrated multi-trophic aquaculture processes

IU-ECOAQUA presents advances in new land-based integrated multi-trophic aquaculture processes

Around 70 researchers from the European AquaVitae Project gathered in Porto for the third annual  metting, to share their develoments in the cultivations of macroalgae, echinoderms, mollusks, bivalves and crustaceans among other species

The University Research Institute of Acuiculture and Sustainable Marine Ecosystems (IU-ECOAQUA) from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), through the lead investigator, Gercende Courtois de Viçose, has presented advances on the study of land-based integrated multi-trophic aquaculture at the third annual meeting of the AquaVitae European Project recently held in Porto (Portugal).

A meeting, where the mayority of the partners, of this initiative, have shared and discussed about the progress and main results obtained in their respective research on the develoment of the new robust and replicable solutions for low-trophic level aquaculture production, through the optimization of systems and processes.

The study of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) in land-based systems led by the Aquaculture Research Group (GIA) of IU-ECOAQUA , in which also participate research centers and industry partners from France, South Africa and Spain, focused on systems that only include low-trophic level species such as abalone, sea cucumber or macroalgae, among others.

1_GercendeGercende Courtois de Viçose Photo: © IU-ECOAQUA

Therefore, the partners involved have developed common experimental methodologies in order to facilitate the exchange and transfer of knowledge among the different regions. The results presented by IU-ECOAQUA during this stage of the research are focused on the development of sea cucumber production in conjunction with abalone production as well as the integration of several macroalgae in abalone feed to increase their sustainability.

“Abalone can be cultivated together with other species, in land-based or sea based systems, contributing to reduce infrastructure cost for the aquaculture companies," says G. Courtois de Viçose, adding, "something that could greatly benefit their production”.

Low-trophic level aquaculture is subject to similar challenges throughout the Atlantic Ocean for the development of production systems. Researchers participating in the AquaVitae Horizon 2020 project, who met in Porto at the end of last month, are expecting to achieve more than 130 key results with the collaboration of industry, research centers and government organizations. The project includes 13 case studies located in different parts of the Atlantic and divided into five value chains, including macroalgae, echinoderms, mollusks, bivalves and crustaceans.

The results presented during the third annual meeting covered different aquaculture value chains in the Atlantic, from the cultivation of native oysters, mussels and new species of macroalgae, to production in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture systems (IMTA).

3--abalon-spatsAbalone with macroalgae. Photo: © IU-ECOAQUA

The AquaVitae project aims at developping sustainable solutions for low-trophic level aquaculture in the Atlantic Ocean optimizing aquaculture systems and procedures within different value chains to encoura blue economy development.

The main explotaible results of the project are innovations applicable to low-trophic species value chains from marine and fresh water environments throughout the Atlantic region.

This project is funded by the European Horizonte 2020 program and is represented by 35 partners located in the Atlantic basin, including Europe, North America, South America and South Africa.

The project supports and contributes to the implementation of the Belém and Galway Declarations for international research collaboration in the Atlantic Ocean.


  • AquaVitae is a 4,5 years research and innovation project, funded by UE Horizon 2020 program.
  • The aim of the project is to intoduce new low-trophic level species, products and process into marine aquaculture value chains throughout the Atlantic.
  • The five value chains chosen include macroalgae, Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), echinoderm species (e.g. sea urchin, sea cucumber), bivalves and shrimp, among other species.
  • The project includes 13 case studies that analyze solutions for different species, processes and cross-cutting issues in the five value chains.
  • Slogan: New species, process and products that contribute to increase the production and improve sustainability in emerging low and existing low and high-trophic level aquaculture value chains in the Atlantic.

EU-Horizonte 2020:

Project website


  1. Nofima (Norway)
  2. Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria- Embrapa (Brazil)
  3. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande- FURG (Brazil)
  4. Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazil)
  5. Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho (Brazil)
  6. Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (Denmark)
  7. Sjókovin – Blue Resource (Faroe Islands)
  8. SPF Ocean Rainforest (Faroe Islands)
  9. PF Fiskaaling (Faroe Islands)
  10. Alfred- Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum fur Polar-Und Meeresforschung (Germany)
  11. Verein Zur Forderung des Technologietrasfers an der Hochschule Bremerhaven EV (Germany)
  12. Matis OHF (Iceland)
  13. Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT)
  14. University of Namibia (Namibia)
  15. Miljostiftelsen Bellona (Norway)
  16. Norut Northern Research Institute AS (Norway)
  17. Universitet I Tromsoe – Norges Arktiske Universitet (Norway)
  18. Universidade do Porto – CIIMAR (Portugal)
  19. Centro de Ciencias do Mar do Algarve (Portugal)
  20. Rhodes University (South Africa)
  21. Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
  22. Biolan Microbiosensores SL (Spain)
  23. Centro Tecnológico del Mar – Fundación CETMAR (Spain)
  24. Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas – CSIC (Spain)
  25. Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria ULPGC (Spain)
  26. IVL Svenska Miljoeinstitutet AB (Sweden)
  27. The Scottish Association for Marine Science LBG (United Kingdom)
  28. University of New England (United States)
  29. Primar Aquacultura Ltda (Brazil)
  30. Scea France Haliotis (France)
  31. Cartron Point Shellfish LTD (Ireland)
  32. Algaplus Producao e Comercializacao de Algas e Seus Derivados LDA (Portugal)
  33. Marifeed PTY LTD (South Africa)
  34. Wild Coast Abalone (South Africa)
  35. Bohus Havsbruk AB (Sweden)
AquaVitae_annual_meeting_group_pictureAquaVitae Consortium. Photo: © Rafa Méndez.

AquaVitae is a Horizon 2020 project that develops solutions for aquaculture in the Atlantic Ocean. The project held its third annual meeting in Porto, Portugal, where progress on prototypes and various research results were presented.