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Sustainable, profitable and resilient value chains for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

The ASTRAL project

Elisa Ravagnan (NORCE), ASTRAL coordinator

As the population is growing there is an increasing need and demand for food to be produced. At the same time there is a limit to the amount of food that can be produced through traditional agriculture on land. Thankfully, the sea is also a great provider for food, but it is not without its own challenges, for example fisheries activities are decreasing because of overfishing and climate change impacts. Aquaculture is an alternative approach to marine-based food production, however, as with any intensive or monoculture approaches, it also has an impact on, and is impacted by, its environment and conditions.

There is therefore a need to develop an aquaculture that is sustainable and resilient, as well as profitable for producers.

This is the objective of the ASTRAL project, and on the latest episode of the podcast, the coordinator, Elisa Ravagnan of NORCE, tells us all about it.

In a nutshell, ASTRAL aims to develop new, sustainable, profitable and resilient value chains for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) production within the framework of existing, emerging and potential Atlantic markets. IMTA involves different species, at different trophic levels, being grown together, and where one species is usually fed (for example salmon) and the others (for example mussels and then algae) feed off uneaten feed or organic waste from that fed-species. This approach enables circularity, which means less impact on the environment and much reduced waste production.

ASTRAL focuses on developing tools and resources for IMT aquaculture with local species, especially in the South Atlantic, where it is less prominent than in the Northern hemisphere. Based on its case studies, ASTRAL evaluates the value chains for their environmental, social and economic potential, and the tools developed are adapted to the local needs and opportunities.

And this is just the starting point, so if you want to know more about ASTRAL, its activities and results, make sure to listen to the full episode!

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