In this summary the ongoing situation and the potential for the practice of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in the world’s marine temperate waters are highlighted. As is well known these days, IMTA in fact, is one of the most promising pathways in the evolution of sustainable aquaculture systems. Currently, most research is focused on biomitigation technologies and implemented within various aquaculture systems in order to minimize the impacts of excess nutrients on the surrounding areas. IMTA combines fed aquaculture species (e.g. finfish/shrimps) with organic extractive culture (e.g. suspension feeders/deposit feeders/herbivorous fish) and inorganic extractive species (e.g. seaweeds, halophytes) in such a way that waste produced by the fed culture becomes input for the extractive cultures.IMTA

In fact,

  • The only countries to have IMTA systems near commercial scale, or at commercial scale are: Canada, Chile, China, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Scotland) and the United States of America.
  • Countries having ongoing research projects related of IMTA are: France, Portugal and Spain.
  • Scandinavian countries, in particular Norway, have made efforts towards the development of IMTA, in spite of possessing a large aquaculture network of finfish.

Aquaculture species in marine temperate waters, possessing particular importance and high potential for development in IMTA systems consist of:

  • Seaweeds such as: Laminaria, Saccharina, Sacchoriza, Undaria, Alaria, Ecklonia, Lessonia, Durvillaea, Macrocystis, Gigartina, Sarcothalia, Chondracanthus, Callophyllis, Gracilaria, Gracilariopsis, Porphyra, Chondrus, Palmaria, Asparagopsis and Ulva.
  • Bivalves: Haliotis, Crassostrea, Pecten, Argopecten, Placopecten, Mytilus, Choromytilus and Tapes.
  • Echinoderms: Strongylocentrotus, Paracentrotus, Psammechinus, Loxechinus, Cucumaria, Holothuria, Stichopus, Parastichopus, Apostichopus and Athyonidium.
  • Polychaetes: Nereis, Arenicola, Glycera and Sabella.
  • Crustaceans: Penaeus and Homarus.
  • Fish: Salmo, Oncorhynchus, Scophthalmus, Dicentrarchus, Gadus, Anoplopoma, Hippoglossus, Melanogrammus, Paralichthys, Pseudopleuronectes and Mugil.

Certain measures and steps wherever appropriate should be taken in order to mitigate the practice of IMTA in these regions.

  • The economic and environmental value of IMTA systems and their co-products should be launched.
  • Selecting the right species, appropriate to the geographical range, accessible technologies, complement each other, efficient and continuous biomitigation, potential market value, and not impose new regulatory impediments to commercialization.
  • Compatibility with a variety of social and political issues.
  • Educating stakeholders about the benefits of IMTA.
  • Creating the R&D&C continuum for IMTA.

Considering all these aspects into account, IMTA can be used as a powerful and valuable tool towards structuring a sustainable aquaculture industry. IMTA systems can be ecologically efficient and environmentally benign.

To know more please visit the link: Barrington K, Chopin T and Robinson S. (2009). Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in marine temperate waters.