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Increased awareness of the benefits of including seafood as part of one's diet has led to a boom in the consumption of fish. Unfortunately, this has meant a reduction in global fish population stocks. Aquaculture is, therefore, being relied on more and more to provide a steady supply of fish and to assist in curbing the threat of over-fishing. The SUSTAINAQ project aims to ensure that aquaculture products are environmentally sound, sustainable and, above all, safe for human consumption.

Farmed seafood production has risen worldwide to more than 40 million tons, from around 3 million tons in 1970, compared to the total estimated wild catch of about 90 million tons. Aquaculture products supply more than 8 billion meal portions per year.


Aquaculture is able to provide the nutritionally aware market with a previously expensive healthy food. It is of increasing importance, therefore, to ensure that growing demand does not lead to a reduction in safety and quality of the food provided. Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS) may provide production platforms to do just that.

The fish farming industry is now in better shape than ever before, feeding more people, creating more jobs and with a better environmental record. But, as fish farming increases in importance as a provider of food, more care needs to be taken to secure the production of safe, high quality products.

Modern technology may control potential damage to the environment, securing the health of the stock, reducing waste and limiting potential escapees of farmed fish to wild fish stock. Sometimes, however, rising costs can have a limiting effect. Recirculation systems have proved successful in providing an economically sound process, whereby farms can organise production and also control escapees and potentially damaging effluent. At the same time, the viability of the aquaculture and the environment can be secured.


Because RAS has low water requirements and produces a low volume of effluent water, it is probably the type of land-based aquaculture production that interferes least with the environment. Water can be drawn from a variety of sources, such as open waters or boreholes. The effluent can be treated before discharge or can be used for agricultural purposes while its effect on the environment can be completely controlled and even eliminated. Eastern European countries are facing challenges related to water use conflicts, wastes and maintaining breeder stocks of endangered fish species. Therefore, these countries may be the biggest beneficiaries of improved farming practice through the introduction of RAS.

The overall objective of this project is to identify factors that are restricting the sustainable production of seafood in Europe. This is to be achieved by establishing a consortium of aquaculture research partners and aquaculture SMEs across Europe.

List of Partners

  • Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, Fiskeriforskning (Norway)
  • Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies (The Netherlands)
  • French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (France)
  • University of Split, centre for sea studies (Croatia)
  • Research Institute for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Irrigation (Hungary)
  • Dunarea de Jos University of Galati (Romania)
  • University of South Bohemia Ceske Budejovice, Research Institute of Fish Culture and Hydrobiology (Czech Republic)
  • Wageningen University (The Netherlands)
  • Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Ichtyobiology and Aquaculture (Poland)
  • Trabzon Central Fisheries Research Institute (Turkey)
  • Villmarksfisk (Norway)
  • Maring d.o.o. (Croatia)
  • Kaviar House (Romania)
  • Ida Gida Tarimsal Uretim vedis Palazarlama (Turkey)
  • Shubunkin Fish Production Limited Liability Company (Hungary)
  • Innoflex for Technical development and Constructing in Aquaculture (Hungary)
  • Comité Interprofessionnel des Produits de l'Aquaculture (France)
  • CHRIST CHRIST (Poland)
  • Kilic Su Urunleri Uretimi Ihracat-Ithalat ve Tic. (Turkey)
Full title:
Sustainable aquaculture production through the use of recirculation systems
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Dr. Bjørn-Steinar Sæther
Fiskeriforskning (Norwegian Institute of fisheries and Aquaculture Research) ,
EC Scientific Officer:
Ciaran Mangan,
EU contribution:
€ 531,809
Specific Support Action

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top