As part of the ERA Chair program, the main objective of EcoAqua is to integrate outstanding researchers in the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) to foster research excellence in Sustainable Aquaculture under an Ecosystem Approach.

The ERA Chair research team will strive to develop and strengthen the S&T research potential and capacities of ULPGC, underpinning a better integration into the ERA by pushing the boundaries of existing research lines, to enhance research capacities on Aquaculture and its environmental interactions, through its University Research Institute in Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Conservation and by creating a platform on Sustainable Aquaculture under an Ecosystem Approach.

Research lines will cover marine spatial planning and site selection, increase animal performance during life-cyle, including egg and larval quality, better fish health and welfare, new aquaculture species under climate change scenarios, genetic improvement of productive, health and animal welfare traits, fundamental knowledge to understand the interactions between farmed and wild stocks, including wildlife, etc., all of them related to a better integration of Aquaculture and the Environment, taking into consideration the fragile marine ecosystem of the Outermost Regions, such the Canary Islands.

The research group will consolidate a network of concerned partners inside the ERA (including the Outermost Regions, ORs) as well as other International partners, such as the Marine Programme of IUCN, to consolidate excellence in research and increasing awareness on diverse topics, such as sustainable feeds and ingredients, IMTA, marine protected areas and aquaculture production, use and develop best practices to optimize prevention methods, stock enhancements,

The team will play an active role in the development of the European Blue Economy, contributing to the Outermost Regional Sustainable Development, through transfer of knowledge to stakeholders, etc., related to the sustainable development  of the aquaculture sector in all European waters.

EcoAqua will conduct annual Summer Courses on “Ecosystems-based Approach for the Sustainable Development of Aquaculture” to train and exchange information among ERA members (including ORs and Overseas Countries and Territories – OCTs) on current issues dealing with marine spatial planning, ecosystem interactions and aquaculture development in coastal areas.

EcoAqua will organize:

- An International Workshop to provide the discussion forum for the application of an Ecosystem-based approach in ORs and OCTs.

- International Conferences on “Challenges in the Environmental Management of Coastal and Marine Areas”and on “Marine Spatial Planning, Sustainable Growth and Biodiversity Conservation in Island Systems with the participation of relevant actors from EU (such as DG Mare/DG RTD) and elsewhere (e.g. IUCN, FAO, UN Barbados Programme of Action…)

In summary, the objectives of EcoAqua project are

    • To develop the next generation sustainable aquaculture research in Europe under the framework of the Maritime Strategy Framework Directive and the Blue Growth Initiative.
    • To initiate innovative approach for aquaculture development within the Ecosystem-based approach to improve European marine animal-food- production.
    • To develop sustainable aquaculture science and technology (S&T), uphold the S&T infrastructures, and push the boundaries of the current research.
    • To provide training for university students and technicians and exchange the ULPGC know-how and experience inside the ERA and towards the Outermost Regions (Summer schools, personnel mobility, network building with ERA and OR/ OCT research centres).
    • To convert the excellence in research into applications:
               Extend S&T excellence among Economic and Social Sectors (industry, local SME and other relevant private/public actors).
               Create public awareness and enhance the visibility of the ULPGC excellence (Scientific Workshops and Conferences and other dissemination and promotional activities).