The nearly €7 million EU Horizon 2020 funded Tools for Assessment and Planning of Aquaculture Sustainability (TAPAS) project aims to support sustainable growth of the sector in Europe by establishing an efficient regulatory framework and decision support system. Using case study sites throughout Europe, including several important locations in the Atlantic Area, TAPAS is considering a range of production systems including freshwater ponds, re-circulating systems, shellfish farms, marine cages and emerging technologies such as Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA). TAPAS is evaluating and developing new in-situ real time surveillance technologies for water quality parameters.
A healthy marine and coastal environment is key to a productive aquaculture sector and aquaculture must be planned and managed appropriately to ensure that negative impacts are minimised whilst benefits are optimised, avoiding conflict with other users and maintaining biodiversity. When implemented effectively, a strong but flexible regulatory and licensing framework for aquaculture can achieve this and in doing so can protect, secure and enhance the marine and coastal environment. However, in the Atlantic area, as in the rest of Europe, there are many different approaches to aquaculture regulation and licensing. There is a clear need to establish coherent and efficient regulatory frameworks that will enable sustainable development of the sector resulting in increased food production, more jobs and also focus on environmental sustainability. An efficient regulatory framework for aquaculture would also be advantageous for marine spatial planning and regional development. The TAPAS project is exploring and testing innovative use of new and existing tools to maximise and manage carrying capacity more effectively. The tools will also support long term monitoring of ecosystem carrying capacity and environmental risks to make aquaculture more sustainable and transparent. The development of the TAPAS toolbox and the decision support tool TAPAS-Smart will provide approaches that can be adopted by national legislation and regulatory frameworks.
TAPAS is evaluating current aquaculture regulatory practices and the methods, tools and technologies used for implementation, to identify gaps, needs and bottlenecks and propose improved approaches. The overall objective is to establish a comprehensive ‘toolbox’ to support transparent and efficient licensing, that will enhance environment sustainability, aquatic food security and blue growth.
Results achieved to date:
Starting March 2016, the four-year project has already made significant progress in identifying the licensing and regulatory issues across Europe via an in-depth stakeholder consultation. Initial model evaluation has taken place and work is underway to adapt and develop tools and approaches at the case study locations.
Transferability of project results to other organisations/ subregions, regions, member states:
The aim of TAPAS is to harness cross-EU expertise to conform an objective and scientifically robust set of frameworks which will lead to sustainable EU aquaculture development. The approaches developed and used will be transferable and adaptable to other areas and systems.
The TAPAS project is based within the EU. Its outcomes will be relevant to all countries within the EAA, and involve all aquaculture stakeholder and governmental groups.
The tools developed and project outcomes will be validated and trialed on a number of aquaculture locations and systems in; Norway and Ireland (Atlantic salmon marine cages including integrated aquaculture systems), Scotland and Denmark (salmonids in freshwater systems), Hungary (carp in freshwater ponds), Malta and southern Spain (seabass in integrated aquaculture systems), Southern England and France (shellfish culture) and Greece (seabass and sea bream).
EC - H2020 Societal challenges (H2020-SFS-2015-2)