Aquaculture production in the Baltic Sea Region is rather low due to unfavourable natural conditions. The limited space available for new activities, especially in the coastal zone, calls for new management initiatives that combine open systems in the Baltic Sea waters with land-based “In-house farming”. The establishment of an environment-safe, sustainable aquaculture industry based on closed-cycle technology can create new jobs. Aquaculture in the traditional way is often a part-time occupation, as a result of the variations in seasonal resource availability. With closed-cycle technology it is possible to establish a seasons-independent breeding system.
Integrated aquaculture involves the combination of different biological cycles – with fish as consumers and plants as producers – as a further innovative step to expand the value chain through parallel production of plants (vegetables, flowers or herbs). The vision is an almost 100% self-sustainable food production system through linking of the food chains. The principles and advantages are:
- The waste products of one system serve as food or fuel for a second biological system.
- The integration of fish and plants is a type of poly-culture that increases diversity and thereby enhances system stability.
- Biological water filtration removes nutrients from the water before it leaves the system.
- The sale of greenhouse products generates income that supports the local economy.
The aim within SUBMARINER is to establish a platform for development and implementation of concepts for fully integrated, financially and technologically feasible closed circuit aquatic farming systems. As the scientific and technological progress is developing rapidly, we will evaluate how modern technological and analytical methods can be successfully combined with traditional aquatic farming systems in order to improve the overall performance and the production reliability of existing or new closed circuit aquatic farming systems.
The innovation forum “Aqua-alliance: new approaches to a sustainable aquaculture”, supported by the Federal Ministry for Education & Science, is currently exploring these new solutions in north Germany. Based on this network’s experience, Submariner will explore ways to turn this knowledge into reality in the region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Among the activities planned to this end are:
- The establishment of an expert group to discuss concepts for a an eco-friendly, sustainable aquaculture system based on closed-cycle technology.
- The development of a technologically and financially feasible concept to implement such closed circuit aquaculture system. It can be expected that closed circuit aquaculture will require more investments than conventional aquatic farming systems. These include:
- Development of a module-based, robust, easy to use and handle technological design
- Feasibility study for suitability of different fish species
- Concept for quality management and food security, including assessment of new technological and analytical methods for the prevention of fish diseases
- Optimization of fish feed and application
- Economic concept for refinancing the investment by implementing such technology in present waste water treatment plants as an integrated solution
- Knowledge transfer to exchange experiences with other European SUBMARINER partners.
- Involvement of main stakeholders from the region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the European partners: relevant ministries, aquaculture associations, interested NGOs, farmers, scientists and engineers, etc.