A project led by NUI Galway and Athlone Institute of Technology is set to improve production efficiencies and management of farmed fish at several inland freshwater sites.
The project, called ECOAQUA, has received almost €350k in funding from the European Commission.
This project is expected to give us new information, new methods, and increased awareness in this area.
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 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.
Dr Eoghan Clifford from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Aquaculture is recognised to have the potential to address food security concerns in many countries and offer significant economic benefits.
“Ireland currently ranks as fifth in value and seventh in volume in terms of high value fish species with exports supporting approximately 2,000 jobs.
“However, the sector in Ireland has remained relatively stagnant and has significant potential to grow, develop export markets and create employment in rural areas.
“These developments are strongly aligned with Ireland’s FoodWise2025 policy that seeks to grow food exports by 85% to €19 billion by 2025.
“This research has the potential to introduce innovative monitoring practices, technologies that can enhance the value and sustainability of Irish and European fish stock densities while ensuring the environmental sustainability of the sector.”