Ecoaqua To Boost Freshwater Aquaculture Productivity in Ireland
In Ireland, a new project named Ecoaqua is being developed to increase the aquaculture output to 45,000 tonnes per annum by 2020. This project is spearheaded by Dr Eoghan Clifford from NUI Galway and Professor Neil Rowan from Athlone Institute of Technology and seeks to improve production efficiency in freshwater areas. As such, the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) has been able to provide funding of €348,781.
Some of the needs that will be met by this new project in the industry include:
- The analysis of three aquaculture sites with regards to environmental and energy performance. This would be achieved through extensive sampling as well as remote online analysis and monitoring of water parameters;
- Enabling the reuse of treated water, which will contribute greatly to the reduction in volume of discharged and extracted water;
- Encouraging sustainability in the production process and ensuring that environmental regulations are adequately met;
- Managing innovative water projects that in turn will ensure that research is easily accessible and transferrable to the aquaculture sector.
The aquaculture sector in Ireland and globally is known to have the potential to address issues such as food security, with the ability to provide numerous other economic benefits. As such, Ireland currently ranks seventh in the European Union with regards to the volume of high value fish species and fifth for value. This shows that with minimum effort, the aquaculture sector in Ireland could grow into one of the global forces to reckon with. Ecoaqua will further build upon Ireland’s aquaculture profile by improving the quality of freshwater farms through energy efficiency and water treatment technologies. This will in turn contribute to a seamless transition into future production technologies.