Project Leader:
Elisa Ravagnan


SEMRU (Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit)
J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics,
National University of Ireland
Galway, Ireland

Institute of Marine Sciences - National Research Council
(ISMAR-CNR) - Ancona Section
Ancona, Italy
Photo: Fiona Provan, IRIS

Aqua Accept

Developing novel socio-environmental indicators and management tools for a sustainable aquaculture

Project description
Aquaculture has grown rapidly worldwide in the past decades and will continue to grow to satisfy the rising food demand of an increasing world population. To match this growth in a sustainable way, several environmental as well as social challenges must be dealt with, including increased pollution, spreading of diseases and escape of farmed fish. The perceptions caused by conflicts of interest between different users of the coastal areas (i.e. recreational fishing, tourism, other industries) must be addressed as well.
The AquaAccept project engages experts in several disciplines (biology, ecology, economy, sociology and computer sciences) to suggest solutions for the development of the aquaculture industry in agreement with society’s views and the best use of environmental resources. Novel environmental indicators in aquaculture will be developed, to monitor the ecosystem status. The social acceptance for aquaculture will be studied to explore user-groups’ priorities and potential conflicts of interests and comparative studies will be performed in Norway and Ireland (as EU representative). The environmental and social findings will be merged in an innovative managing on-line application (WEB-GIS) in order to evaluate spatial and/or temporal interactions existing in a specific marine coastal area.
A continuous and open dialog between the aquaculture industries, NGOs, policy makers, general public and the  scientific community is a basic requirement for the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industries. Local communities will be engaged in the dialogue, as well as industry representatives, local administrators and policy makers.

The main objective is to investigate the acceptable impacts of aquaculture on marine coastal systems. Focus will be biological indicators, social acceptability and integrated management.

Secondary objectives:
1. To analyse if the combination of indicators currently used to monitor effects of aquaculture is giving a comprehensive overview of the environmental status.
2. To verify if the use of novel biological indicators could enhance the sensitivity of the monitoring.
3. To present status of the current social acceptability of aquaculture in fjords.
4. To further ensure sustainability by developing knowledge of social acceptability of aquaculture.
5. To develop a new modelling tool for environmental risk, social acceptability and management of conflicts.
6. To provide recommendations and suggestions to the authorities and the industry to improve the sustainability of aquaculture in multiple aspects.