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"Aquaculture, not the Internet, represents the most promising investment opportunity of the 21st Century."

- Peter Drucker, Management Expert & Economist


AQUABEST - Innovative practices and technologies for developing sustainable aquaculture in the Baltic Sea Region

AquaCircle deltager i dette projekt som associated partner - det vil sige, at vi ikke får del i tilskuddet, men får alle informationer om projektet, ligesom vi kan deltage på arrangementer som projektet afholder. AquaCircle-medlemmerne Dansk Akvakultur og DTU-Aqua er 'fuldgyldige' parter i projektet. Om andre medlemmer kan blive aktivt involveret i projektet (teknologi og videnoverførsel) må tiden og engagementet vise. Læs mere om projektet (på engelsk herunder).

Dansk kontaktperson er Alfred Jokumsen på DTU-Aqua

Aquaculture has been the fastest growing food production sector globally during the last two decades. Aquaculture growth stems from the inability to meet the growing demand for fish products by fisheries of often threatened fish stocks. In opposite to the global trend, aquaculture production in the Baltic Sea Region has stagnated. It is widely accepted that aquaculture has great potential to feed growing human population in the era of declining wild stocks ("Blue Revolution"), but new production has to be built on sustainable practices and technologies.

European Union has identified this challenge and has adopted aquaculture as a flagship project in the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013 funds projects contributing to the implementation of the Strategy. AQUABEST, a project of 14 partners from 8 countries, was selected for funding by The Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013, and it will be launched during this summer.

Major  bottlenecks and solutions

AQUABEST will target the following four specific problems and demonstrate practices to solve them.

1.    Aquaculture relies upon nutrients imported from oceans thus contributing to eutrofication of the Baltic Sea.

2.    Spatial planning knowledge has not been transferred throughout the Baltic Sea Region, and aquaculture has therefore not developed in offshore or other remote areas with less environmental effects, competition and conflicts.

3.    Feasibility of recirculation farming has not been assessed and technology transferred throughout the Baltic Sea Region. Furthermore, the technology needs to be adapted from fresh water environment to the Baltic Sea water environment.

4.    Licensing systems do not always encourage adoption of eco-efficient technologies and practices.


Firstly, the project will demonstrate that Baltic Sea Region aquaculture is capable of becoming a nutrient neutral food production system. This will be achieved by replacing oceanic feed ingredients and plant products harvested at other continents with regional feed ingredients. Potential regional ingredients include Baltic Sea fish catches and Baltic Sea grown mussels not used by human consumption, as well as plant proteins and single cell proteins produced and processed in the region.


Secondly, AQUABEST will adapt lessons from maritime spatial planning projects, develop them into guidelines and by regional testing demonstrate that spatial planning tools can be adapted to create environmentally, economically and socially sustainable aquaculture. Spatial planning will be completed by activities that will support farmers to move fish cages offshore and which will support mussel farmers to adapt technologies that tolerate harsh winter conditions in the northern Baltic Sea.

New farming technologies using recirculating water have been developed especially in Denmark. The third solution of AQUABEST is to transfer these technologies to other regions and further develop them to adapt in brackish water conditions of the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, although recirculation farms already release much less nutrients in the effluent than conventional farms, nitrogen release of these farms can be further diminished.

As the final outcome, AQUABEST will carry out regional self-evaluation of present environmental regulation models in aquaculture. A novel ecosystem-based regulation needs new approach, environmental policy instruments and economic incentives. Concrete improvements are proposed after dialogue between major stakeholders.

Strong partnership

AQUABEST - project has 14 partners from 8 countries. The partnership is a strong combination of administration, aquaculture industry and research and development organizations.

1.      Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute

2.      Helsinki University

3.      The Government of Åland

4.      Jämtland County Council

5.      Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

6.      Swedish Board of Agriculture

7.      Polish Trout Breeders Association

8.      Latvian Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment

9.      Belarusian State Agricultural Academy

10.   Technical University of Denmark

11.   The Danish Aquaculture Organization

12.   Association of Marine Aquaculture Ltd

13.   Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute

14.   Tartu University

In addition to project partners, associated partners such as international organizations HELCOM and ICES, national and regional authorities, aquaculture producer organizations, feed suppliers and non-governmental organizations contribute to the project.

AQUABEST is coordinated by the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute. Further information can be requested from partner organizations as well as the coordinator representative Jouni Vielma,, tel +358 205 751 522

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