Project Details


In opposite to the global trend, aquaculture production in the Baltic Sea region had stagnated. It is widely accepted that aquaculture had great potential to feed the growing human population in the era of declining wild stocks ("Blue Revolution"), but new production has to be built on sustainable practices and technologies. The European Union has identified this challenge and has adopted aquaculture as a flagship project in the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region.

Firstly, AQUABEST demonstrated that Baltic Sea region aquaculture was capable of becoming a nutrient neutral food production system. This was assessed to be achieved by replacing oceanic feed ingredients and plant products harvested at other continents with regional feed ingredients. Potential regional ingredients included Baltic Sea fish catches and Baltic Sea grown mussels not used for human consumption, as well as plant proteins and single cell proteins produced and processed in the region.

Secondly, AQUABEST adapted lessons from maritime spatial planning projects, developed them into guidelines and by regional testing demonstrated that spatial planning tools can be adapted to create environmentally, economically and socially sustainable aquaculture. Spatial planning activities were completed by activities that could support farmers to move fish cages offshore and which could support mussel farmers to adapt technologies that tolerated harsh winter conditions in the northern Baltic Sea.
New farming technologies using recirculating water have been developed especially in Denmark.

The third solution of AQUABEST was to transfer these technologies to other regions and further develop them to adapt to brackish water conditions of the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, although recirculation farms already released much less nutrients in the effluent than conventional farms, nitrogen release of these farms could be further diminished.

As the final outcome, AQUABEST carried out regional self-evaluation of current environmental regulation models in aquaculture. A novel ecosystem-based regulation needed new approach, environmental policy instruments and economic incentives. Concrete improvements were proposed after dialogue between major stakeholders.

The project was coordinated by Finish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Finland and funded by EU, InterReg (regional collaboration).

Research area: Aquaculture
Effective start/end date01/01/201131/12/2014

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • Association of Marine Aquaculture Ltd (Project partner)
  • Jämtland County Council (Project partner)
  • Lund University (Project partner)
  • University of Helsinki (Project partner)
  • Belarusian State Agricultural Academy (Project partner)
  • Danish Aquaculture Association (Project partner)
  • The Government of Åland (Project partner)
  • Institute of Food Safety Animal Health and Environment (Project partner)
  • Johann Heinrich von Thunen Institute (Project partner)
  • Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (Project partner)
  • University of Tartu (Project partner)
  • Swedish Board of Agriculture (Project partner)
  • Polish Trout Breeders Association (Project partner)


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