Maltese research company AquaBioTech Group is one of 15 entities taking part in a four-year research project aimed at boosting the European aquaculture industry.

The €7 million Tools for Assessment and Planning of Aquaculture Sustainability (Tapas) Horizon 2020 research project, led by the University of Stirling, will help the European aquaculture sector investigate the limits and the potentials of the fish farming activity, the social interactions, the potential environmental impacts and other future effects.

Shane Hunter, technical director of AquaBioTech Group said: “The international multi-disciplinary consortium of the 15 industrial and academic partners of the Tapas project carries a wealth of knowledge and experience providing an excellent knowledge base to create new tools for producers and regulators for management and monitoring of aquaculture activities.”

Trevor Telfer of the Institute of Aquaculture of Stirling University is leading the multi-partner study which starts this month.

The study will seek to establish a comprehensive “toolbox” to support transparent and efficient licensing, enhance environment sustainability and aquatic food security while taking into consideration the potentials of food production, economic growth and the creation of new jobs.

The collaborative work will play a major role in the European Commissions’ strategy to achieve smart growth in aquaculture production across the region’s seas. Key drivers for the economy, these waters presently represent approximately 5.4 million jobs and generate a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year.

The project will also support the implementation of the adopted Aquaculture Strategy for the Maltese Islands 2014-2025: “Improving aquaculture farm operations will lead to increased efficiency and profitability of those farms that adhere to the principles of best practice and comply with the conditions of their operating consents, thus ensuring no nuisance is caused to other coastal users.”

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