HYDRAPONICS is a well established concept for producing plants in a freshwater, organically enriched aquatic medium. Integrated Multi‐Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is the combined cultivation of multiple commercially farmed species that belong to different levels of the food chain. In an IMTA system, fish are farmed together with other species including shellfish (such as mussels) and algae or seaweed, creating a more efficient, cleaner and less wasteful production system. IMTA addresses concerns about the future sustainability of aquaculture by increasing productivity and profitability while also reducing waste and over‐reliance on raw materials from wild fish. MARAPONICS proposes to merge the principles of hydroponics and IMTA and to identify a compatible suite of plant and animal species to fill each of the trophic levels.
Description of facilities and research environment
The Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre (AFDC) is a research hub for aquaculture and fisheries research. The centre brings together four thematic research areas; shellfish health, aquaculture, marine mammals and fisheries and molecular genetics. The research capability at the centre includes a broad range of expertise in both inshore and deep‐sea fisheries, disease research, investigating the impact of fishing practices on the environment, aquaculture of novel species, aquaculture technologies, novel feed development and production, by‐catch and discards, on Genetic Stock Identification of exploited fish species and on conservation genetics of endangered species and basic fish biology. The AFDC plays a significant role in addressing the needs ofthe industry and its bio‐resourcesthrough participation in national and international collaborative research programmes involving both scientific and industry stakeholders. The AFDC has a strong track record in knowledge and technology transfer and involvement with industry and has recently developed a technology which led to the establishment of the UCC aquaculture start‐up, Gourmet Marine Ltd.