Meeting on energy and water efficiency in the aquaculture sector demonstrates global appetite for increasing sustainability in the sector
The final event of the EWEAS Project (https://eweasproject.eu), titled Energy and Water Efficiency in the Aquaculture Sector: Examples of best practice and launch of e-learning platform was held on 12th May 2021, hosted online by AquaTT, Dublin. The meeting began with a speaker event, with presentations covering energy efficiency in recirculating aquaculture systems (Maddi Badiola, Alpha Aqua A/S and HTH Aquametrics LLC); sustainability and resource efficiency in an aquaculture pond system in Ireland (Damien Toner, An Board Iascaigh Mhara); the reduction of water and energy usage in seafood processing (Israel Muñoz, Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, Catalunya) and an overview of the EWEAS project (Mercedes Rodríguez-Caro de la Rosa, SGS Tecnos, Valencia). Following this an engaging Q+A session covered a range of important topics, particularly focussed around how to generalise energy and water efficiency measures when aquaculture facilities are so variable – both in terms of structure and function but also the external pressures from particular climatic or local conditions. The importance of energy audits to understand the system and design tailored solutions was identified, but also the easy, universal wins of improving lighting, pumping and heating efficiency, for example, or the application of local renewable energy generations; all of which are covered in the EWEAS online training programme. After a short break the second half of the meeting ran in parallel in English, Italian, Latvian, Slovenian and Spanish. In these sessions the new e-learning platform developed by EWEAS was demonstrated and discussed.
The meeting was very well attended, with more than 170 registered participants representing 32 countries covering all continents (expect Antartica!), 50% of whom were from commercial organisations. This demonstrates the real interest globally and commercially for pathways to improved sustainability in the aquaculture sector, presumably for both environmental and economic reasons.