News & Views
Project poised to position Ireland as an innovator in aquaculture
By Quentin Dodd
By Quentin Dodd
A new joint multidisciplinary aquaculture project between NUI Galway and the Athlone Institute of Technology is intended to improve production management and efficiencies at inland aquaculture sites.
MOREFISH, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, aims to develop and test new innovative technologies and processes.
Led by Dr Eoghan Clifford from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway and Professor Neil Rowan from Athlone Institute of Technology, the project addresses critically important needs identified by industry end-users, including the potential for advanced aeration technologies, efficient production management and deployment of next-generation disinfection technologies.
The multidisciplinary research project aims to position Ireland as a leading innovator for established and emerging problem-solving in aquaculture. The overall aims are to enhance production efficiency and sustainability in Irish on-land aquaculture, leading to increased competitiveness for the sector, together with improved fish health, resulting in reduced finfish diseases and mortalities due to improved operating conditions.
Dr Clifford explains: “Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food sectors in Europe where Ireland is the seventh largest producer of aquaculture in terms of volume of high value fish species and with exports of Irish aquaculture products supporting approximately 2,000 direct jobs. However, there is an increased need to develop innovative technologies in order to increase both Irish and broader European fish stock densities and productivity, along with simultaneously optimising energy and water consumption.”
Professor Rowan added, “This project brings together a critical mass of engineering and scientific expertise from industry stakeholders and policy-makers, commercial operators and international experts who can respond directly to pressing issues identified through industry scoping. Indeed, the central novel theme that embodies MOREFISH is the generation of new knowledge on the application of management processes and alleviation of finfish diseases through the development of innovative solutions for sustainable freshwater aquaculture applications. Pilot studies are underway in freshwater aquaculture sites in Ireland using what are beyond-state-of-the-art approaches.”