REMEDIA Life - REmediation of Marine Enviroment and Development of Innovative Aquaculture: exploitaiton of edible/not edible biomass

LIFE16 ENV/IT/000343

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Contact person: Adriana Giangrande
Tel: 390832298659
Email: adriana.giangrande@unisalento.it

Project description:


According to World Bank projections, the demand for aquatic products is expected to rise to some 261 million tonnes by 2030; with 62% of the overall quantity coming from aquaculture production, which is expected to triple. However, the effects of this economic sector on the environment can be significant. The main problems concern water pollution and waste generation, which typically cannot be sent to recycling or crushing plants as aquaculture is based on cages placed underwater. As a result, in most fish farming systems, metabolic by-products, food residues, faecal matter, and residues of prophylactic and therapeutic compounds are discharged into the sea, with no prior treatment. This evidently affects the water and sediment quality, and facilitates the emergence of diseases among the species reared with possible health risk also for humans and for marine biodiversity. Therefore, new systems able to mitigate and reduce the environmental impacts of the aquaculture sector are urgently needed, keeping in mind both market needs and EU legislation.


The main objective of the REMEDIA Life project is to develop and demonstrate the effectiveness of an Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) system as a way to mitigate the negative environmental effects of aquaculture activities. This innovative fish farming system will be based on a new set of stress-tolerant bio-remediators, such as polychaetes and sponges, to give a better bioremediation performance than obtained from commonly-used organisms such as mussels and macroalgae.

REMEDIA Life aims to demonstrate the new bioremediation technology on a mariculture farm in a confined environment, with results that can be used not only in aquaculture, but also to produce both edible and inedible biomass suitable for biotechnological exploitation. The ultimate aim of the project is to introduce the new IMTA system to the market in order to ensure the creation of a virtuous circle that would encourage sustainable aquaculture throughout Europe.

This project will contribute to the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC), which demands that all Member States ensure the attainment of ‘Good Environmental Status’ of their marine waters by 2020.

The IMTA system is expected to promote not only better environmental and farming conditions (mainly due to a decreased microbial load in the water), but also additional economic benefits for the aquaculture sector because of the diversification of production and the exploitation of non-edible biomass, in line with the European Blue Growth Strategy.

Expected results:

  • Bioremediation of 70% of the seawater surrounding the pilot farm in the short/medium term and a recovered balance of the marine environment;
  • More than 50% improvement in the chemical-physical quality of the water in terms of dissolved oxygen;
  • Improved trophic conditions of the marine coastal waters;
  • 80% reduction of faecal contamination;
  • Improvement in other indicators considered for the classification of marine water quality;
  • Diversified aquaculture production, towards new markets linked to the commercialisation of non-edible biomass as a by-product of high commercial value, involving the production of biotechnological compounds derived from biomass;
  • Improved rearing performance and reduced risks associated with bacterial contamination of fish products;
  • At each cycle, in addition to the reared fish and mussel products, 1.36 tonnes of polychaetes and 200-250 litres of sponges are expected to be produced;
  • Development of a management plan for the pilot farm;
  • Development of validated guidelines that will aid the replication of the project’s methods across Europe; and
  • Three agreements signed with international stakeholders to replicate and transfer the project’s results.



Environmental issues addressed:


fishing industry‚  aquatic ecosystem‚  marine pollution‚  water quality‚  water pollution

Target EU Legislation

  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (M ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Università del Salento - Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali
Type of organisation University
Description The Department for Technological, Biotechnological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Salento has a long-term research programme on the benthic environment, with experts in the taxonomy of several groups of marine invertebrates. More recently, it has worked on the use of bio-filters, particularly polychaetes, for bioremediation to reduce particulate organic matter and bacterial load in both in-shore and off-shore aquaculture farms.
Partners Istituto per l’Ambiente Marino Costiero CNR U.O.S. Taranto, Italy Maricoltura Mar Grande S.r.l., Italy Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy


Project reference LIFE16 ENV/IT/000343
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 31-DEC -2021
Total budget 2,476,304.00 €
EU contribution 1,344,137.00 €
Project location Puglia(Italia)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version