Data Mining for Modelling Aquaculture Fisheries synergies over wild fish assemblages

Project facts

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Project Number:
Target groups
Researchers or scientists
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 54,199
The project is carried out in:

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The project is aimed at evaluating and testing through data mining, potential actions for solving conflicts between aquaculture and coastal fisheries and promotes the development of sustainable coexistence of two significant marine Industries in Norway and Spain. The partnership will investigate changes of fish assemblages aggregated around facilities, apply mitigation measures and propose adaptive fishing regulation. The project focuses on actions that might mitigate potential effects from aquaculture on wild fish and improve the commercial exploitation of wild fish in areas with intensive farming. The tasks will build upon existing knowledge and will through close and active coordination complement other on-going and related projects. This way both aquaculture and fisheries industries will be benefited by the results of this project. The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) is Norway’s leading institution for applied ecological research. NINA offers broad-based ecological expertise covering the genetic, population, species, ecosystem and landscape level, in terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal marine environments.

Summary of project results

As for all types of human food production involving use of natural resources, fish farming impose ecosystem alterations that may affect the environment. Much of the existing evidence for how fish farming affects the ecosystem is, however, indirect, circumstantial or confounded by other ecosystem modifying factors. For instance, it is challenging to trace pathogens from farmed to wild fish, and the possible effects of fish farming on the natural behaviour and movements of wild marine fish are difficult to separate from e.g. fishery or climatic effects. For instance, the precautionary principle is central to decisions regarding farm sitting, a practice that may result in sub-optimal and ineffective usage of farm areas since location of farms is partly a result of assumptions and not knowledge. Increased knowledge about ecological effects of fish farming is therefore imperative for development of adequate management measures and a sustainable coexistence between coastal fisheries and aquaculture. This project is devoted to fill the gap in the knowledge regarding fisheries-aquaculture interactions. During the project, the following tasks have been performed: Knowledge summary: review of the existing knowledge on the influence of aquaculture on wild fish assemblages (reproduction, physiology, migration, quality). 2. Field-work: sampling of fish aggregated at farm facilities and control sites. 3. Lab-work: processing and analysis of samples by different methodologies. 4. Statistical analysis. 5. Communication and dissemination. The results of the project will be surely sustained in the future by different ways: 1) Engagement of both institutions with practical applicability of the project results for fisheries industry, beyond the end of the project; and 2) Funding applications for future projects advancing in the same research line and based on the results of the present project. The main beneficiaries of the project are the fish industries (capture fisheries and aquaculture). The results of this project will facilitate the governance and management of aquaculture and capture fisheries enhancing its engagement towards environmentally sound practices, and improving the quality of their products, which in turn benefit the final consumers.

Summary of bilateral results

Collaboration between the host institution and University of Alicante has been strengthened and both institutions have applied in collaboration with other European institutions as a consortium to the call H2020. The project was presented within the topic “Consolidating the environmental sutainability of European aquaculture. Title of the project: SAPHIRE – Sustainable Aquaculture Production: Determining Ecosystem Carrying Capacity in Europe. Both partners have also applied to a Norwegian National Research Fund project (which was granted recently). The project aims to address causes and consequences of sea-lice parasites in aquaculture facilities. Title of the project: LiceRisk. This will ensure future collaboration between partners. Moreover, and partly due to the international experience acquired during this project the beneficiary has been granted in the Juan de la Cierva – Formación Spanish funding program. This is a two-year postdoctoral contract which ensures the continuity of research lines initiated All the activities performed in the project are susceptible of being carried out in research projects in Spain. Most of them would be in collaboration with the host institution that could provide some of the technology needed. For instance, the host institution (NINA) and host institution researcher, Ingebrigt Uglem has collaborated in a European project granted to the Spanish research group (ESCAP-FEP). Collaboration consisted in the cession of technology (acoustic tags and VR2 acoustic receivers) and expertise in fish telemetry (fish surgery for implantation of tags) to study the movements of fish escaped from fish farm facilities. Furthermore, new research lines have been proposed, especially in Spain, involving the use of host institution technology which will aid to achieve the objectives of new projects. In this sense, the use of in situ blood analyser could be applied in future projects aiming at testing the effects of different fishing gears in the final quality of fish products.