GAIN (Green Aquaculture Intensification in Europe) is a European Union Horizon 2020 research project led by the University of Venice (IT). The partnership includes the Alfred Wegener Institute (DE), IBM (IE), University of Stirling (UK), Longline Environment (IE), Wageningen University (NL), SPAROS (PT), NOAA (USA), Dalhousie University (CA), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (ES), and Salten Havbrukspark (NO). GAIN started on May 1st, 2018, runs for 42 months, and is designed to support the ecological intensification of aquaculture in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA), with the dual objectives of increasing production and competitiveness of the industry, while ensuring sustainability and compliance with EU regulations on food safety and environment. Further information from

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IMAQulate: Evaluating Costs and Benefits of Prophylactic Health Products and Novel Alternatives on Smallholder Aquaculture Farmers In Asia and Africa

Rapidly growing demand for seafood products for domestic and export markets is driving intensification of aquaculture sectors still dominated by small-holders in much of Asia and Africa. Ensuring effective health management has become the single most important challenge for sustainable intensification of the smallholder sector just as restrictions on antibiotic use are being imposed. Farmers are increasingly dependent on a proliferating range of prophylactic products (including pre and probiotics), often of uncertain provenance & efficacy. Furthermore, the emergent markets for these products lack appropriate regulatory frameworks and the economic burden of unjustified claims is likely to fall most heavily on small-holders. An independent cost-benefit assessment of the efficacy, costs and benefits of such products is urgently required. Working across a range of major commodity farmed species and system types, the project will also assess the potential for novel low-cost alternatives to contribute to improved animal health and profitability of intensified smallholder operations.

This is a BBSRC Newton Funded project led by the University of Stirling with the following partners: the Quadram Institute, the John Innes Centre, the Royal Veterinary College, the University of St Andrews and the University of Liverpool (UK); Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Cochin University of Science & Technology (CUSAT) and Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) (India); Bangladesh Agricultural University and WorldFish Bangladesh (Bangladesh) and Machakos University and the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (Kenya). It started in April 2016 and will end in March 2019. 

You can follow the IMAQulate project on Facebook and Twitter.


BOLTI EGYPT: Behavioural prophylaxis informing improved culture system design and management for enhanced fish health and sustainable intensification of the Egyptian tilapia industry

This is a Newton Institutional Link Project coordinated by researchers from Stirling University (David C Little, Sonia Rey Planellas, Simon Mackenzie and William Leschen) and Kafrelsheikh University (Wael Eltras and Mahmoud Eltholth) in collaboration with Europharma UK, WorldFish Centre Egypt and Egyptian Union of Fishermen Cooperatives

Egypt is the second largest tilapia producer globally providing affordable protein for millions of low income Egyptians based on using low cost earth pond systems. The sustainable intensification of the industry is dependent on the maintenance of fish health but growing mortalities believed to be related to common pathogens are becoming a challenge. Lab-based research has shown that tilapias challenged by common pathogens are capable of improving their immune response and survival if they can select an optimal temperature regime (behavioural prophylaxis). The aim of this project is to assess how modifications in pond system design and management that improve water quality and allow behavioural adaptation by fish can enhance health outcomes.

For more information see:

Metric For Aquaculture Nutritional Impact for Girls (MefANIG) is a project funded by the IMMANA programme of the Leverhulme Centere for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health. Involving partners in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Denmark and Scotland, the two year project aims to develop a metric usable by field practioners to inform their nutritional advice to rural communities engaged in farming seafood. In particular the metric will focus on the needs of vulnerable adolesecent females for whom good nutrition has an intergenerational impact in line with the 1000day movement.

TAPAS (Tools for Assessment and Planning of Aquaculture Sustainability) is an EU Horizon 2020 large collaborative research project. It is coordinated by Prof  Trevor Telfer and the project team of Dr Lynne Falconer, Mr Ainars Blaudums, and two PhD students (Mr Akpo Ekpeki and Mr Tasos Baltadakis). The four year project, which started in March 2016, has 15 academic and SME partners from 9 European countries. It aims to consolidate the environmental sustainability of European aquaculture by developing modelling tools, approaches and frameworks to aid more efficient aquaculture licensing through effective use of physical-ecological-production-social carrying capacity.

The outcomes will support EU Member States in establishing a coherent and efficient regulatory framework to implement Strategic Guidelines for the sustainable development of European aquaculture, and will deliver a computer-based decision framework (the TAPAS-Smart Decision Support Toolbox) for sustainable growth into the future.

For more information see:

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EURASTIP is a three year EU Horizon 2020 project which started in January 2017 and coordinated by Ghent University. The full title is "Promoting Multi-Stakeholder Contributions to International Cooperation on Sustainable Solutions for Aquaculture Development in South-East Asia." The project will evaluate and prepare for the launch of an international multi-stakeholder platform (MSP), so as to provide a new mechanism to create and reinforce international cooperation on sustainable aquaculture between Europe and South-East Asia and will focus on actions that will provide mutual benefit to both regions. The Sustainable Aquaculture Research Group (SARG) at the Institute of Aquaculture will lead activities that develop and support 3 National Pilot multi-stakeholder Platforms (NPPs) in major aquaculture producing countries (Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh) and develop road-map models for others in the region, providing the foundation for an international MSP. These activities will help develop and reinforce the networking needed for the promotion of Business to Business Partnerships, using European and SE Asian networks and also help strengthen cooperation with research, regulatory and other sector participants. SARG will also be working on activities that reinforce professional skills and competences in industry and research, using European and SE Asian education networks, industrial apprenticeship opportunities and Open Educational Resources. Other workpackages in the project will help identify and address common standards for aquaculture site planning, animal health, food product safety and farm governance, supporting sustainable aquaculture development. The project will produce a range of vision documents, strategic research and innovation agendas (SRIAs), priorities and proposed actions; these should in turn help influence national and regional policies, leading to reinforced long-term international cooperation efforts and opportunities.

For more information see 

ClimeFish is a four year EU Horizon 2020 large collaborative project which began in April 2016, and is coordinated by the University of Tromso. The aim is to develop production scenario forecasts to serve as input to socio-economic analysis to identify risks and opportunities within fisheries and aquaculture related to climate change. The underlying biological forecasting models are based upon single species distribution and production, and multispecies interactions. Strategies to mitigate risk and utilize opportunities will be identified in collaboration with stakeholders, and will be used to improve long term production planning and policymaking. The project addresses three production sectors: marine aquaculture, marine fisheries and lake and pond production, including 16 case studies and involving more than 25 species. The output of the project will be the ClimeFish Decision Support Framework, containing guidelines, databases and the ClimeFish Decision Support System. The Stirling team of Prof. Trevor Telfer (PI), Dr Lynne Falconer, Dr Bruce McAdam and Mr John Bostock will be developing production forecast models for farmed salmon, mussels and oysters, and coordinating a shellfish production case study.

For more information see:

The  INSPIRE (International Strategic Partnerships in Research and Education) programme is funded through the University Grants Council through the British Council with the aim of fostering enduring research and teaching partnerships between UK and developing-country HEI partners.

Our INSPIRE project ‘SALTIRE’ is based on a partnership between SARG (PI Dr. Francis Murray) and Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU: PI Abdullah Al Mamun), a young university recently established in southern Bangladesh. SALTIRE is one of only four of 23 INSPIRE funded-projects extended into a third-year of operation to March 2017. Over this period we have partnered 4 of our MSc Aquaculture students with 7 NSTU student counterparts to carry-out field-based research on a range of topics linked to coastal aquaculture.

A key theme has been to understand the resilience of shrimp and prawn farmers to changing salinity patterns along a shifting ‘ inter-saline-freshwater convergence zone’ (ICZ) located within an extensive polderised estuarine flood-plain; first detected in an earlier UoS lead project SEAT

The ICZ phenomena has provided us with a living ‘socio-physical laboratory’ to study salinization affects linked to natural and anthropogenic salinization influence in real-time. Prof. Dave Little and Dr. Francis Murray have also visited NSTU to support capacity building; contributing to the further development of staff, their professional skills and international research competencies.


AQUAEXCEL2020 is an EU Horizon 2020 project which links the leading European aquaculture resarch infrastructures and makes them more accessible for SMEs and other researchers from both within and outside Europe to conduct experimental work that is relevant to the continued development of sustainable aquaculture. The Institute of Aquaculture is involved in several aspects of the project, including the development and maintenance of isogenic fish lines and better definition of humane end points for experimental work. The SARG is involved in managing the programme of transnational access to the 39 research installations participating in the project. 

For more information see 


SHASP Malawi   (Small-scale hatchery aquaculture  seed production). This is a 3 year  Scottish Govt Small Grants  Scheme  funded  follow up    project to the Aquaculture Enterprise Malawi  project below. Its aim to is to develop  15 carefully  selected   entrepreneurial    fish farmers in southern Malawi    to become  financially   viable   small  scale  pond hapa based tilapia  fingerling  producers.  Details of the  project  can be found on the regularly updated  AEM SHASP Facebook site   


Health & Welfare of Lumpfish in Hatchery Production and Deployed in Scottish Salmon Cages.  This 2-year SAIC funded project will focus upon one of the cleaner fish species used for salmon delousing at Scottish sea farms.  The Sustainable Aquaculture group are providing expertise in modelling growth, mortality, welfare indicators and other life history processes for cohorts of lumpfish under different hatchery and deployment protocols to provide information for improving health and welfare of both the lumpfish and salmon in production.


Completed Projects


The group lead a short research project for the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) on "Closed containment sea pen production for some life stages of salmonids." This was carried out in conjunction with commercial partners to investigate the feasibility of using closed-containment systems during the early grow-out period of the rearing of salmon and trout in sea water. The rationale is to protect the fish from infection by sea lice and hence reduce the impact of the parasite on welfare and production economics. The Final Report is available on the SARF Website and shows the technology is developing rapidly but would increase the cost of production slightly. An associated benefit of capturing waste solids is also considered in some detail.

Fostering growth in the Blue Economy by developing an action plan for Innovative European Aquaculture VET and harmonised qualifications (BlueEDU) is an EU Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance. The BlueEDU partnership, led by NTNU (Norway) and involving the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP), The University of Stirling, Guri Kunna Upper Secondary School (Norway), and Pisces Learning Innovations Ltd (UK),  was established in response to growing concerns about the difficulties many European fish producers face when trying to recruit qualified staff with up to date aquaculture knowledge and skills. The skills needs and future demand for education and training were investigated for cage farming operatives (husbandry and supervisor). The application of new learning and communication technologies that can improve the quality and accessibility of education and training for remote work based learners, was also explored. The supply of ‘formal’ aquaculture education and training by the public sector and private trainers was evaluated alongside the un-certificated short courses and in-company provision which serve such a valuable role. The BlueEDU partners believe that a new working relationship between the education and training sector and industry can be catalysed, leading to a more responsive aquaculture education and training system in Europe.

For more information, reports and videos see


(EU Horizon 2020) - The overall objective of PrimeFish was to enhance the economic sustainability and competitiveness of European fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The project studied and analysed the European seafood market in general and five specific seafood supply-chains in particular; cod, herring, trout, seabass, seabream and salmon. The main aim was to develop simulation / forecasting models for analysing changes in competitiveness, prediction of instability of demand and supply including that of warning signs for “boom and bust” cycles and for indication of potential for product innovation success. Stirling workpackage 3 on value chain analysis.

For more information and final reports see


The Systems Group was a key partner in an EU 7th Framework Research Programme, PROteINSECT which facilitated the exploitation of insects as an alternative protein source for animal and human nutrition. Working with international partners, we developed innovativeinsect production systems in Ghana to produce two types of insect larvae  (Domestic housefly and Black Soldier Fly) that can be used as feed ingredients in both ICPC and European aquaculture. The project successfully tested the insect larvae meal as ingredients within feeds for juvenile salmon and tilapia. Further information at


AQUACULTURE CARRYING CAPACITY AND WATER QUALITY IN INDONESIAN LAKES AND RESERVOIRS - This project looked at four lakes in Indonesia to examine the country’s aquaculture industry and how to mitigate the harming effects of waste materials. Primary objectives of the project were the estimation of the lakes' carrying capacity for aquaculture through the application of simple-mass balance models, and human resource and capacity building by bring together leading aquaculture scientists from the U.S., the U.K. and Indonesia to conduct teaching, research, and outreach in support of sustainable development of Indonesia’s aquaculture industry. Partnering institutions were Rhode Island University (U.S.), University of Stirling, Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia) and Surya University (Indonesia). The project was funded by the U.S. Department of State.


Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade (SEAT) (EU FP7): "Trade in aquatic products is the largest global food sector, by value, and Asia represents the main external source of aquatic products into the EU. Current EU policy supporting international trade between Asia and Europe concentrates on issues of food safety as measures of quality, whilst market-forces drive development of standards and labels that identify social and environmental parameters. This project developed an evidence-based framework to support current stakeholder dialogues organised by a third party certifier which contributes to harmonising standards, helping consumers to make fully informed choices with regards to the sustainability and safety of their seafood. An ‘Ethical Aquatic Food Index’, a qualitative holistic measure of overall sustainability to support consumers’ purchasing decisions, was developed based on detailed research centred around a Life Cycle Assessment of current processes involved in ensuring aquatic products reach consumers, aligned with analyses from the sustainable livelihoods approach and systems thinking. SMEs based in the EU participated in this project, particularly the action research phase, enhancing their relative competitiveness. By strengthening the knowledge base surrounding EU-Asia seafood trade the project provided the evidence required to support further expansion whilst ensuring a fair deal for producers who are meeting appropriate social and environmental goals and offering a safe and sustainable product for consumers. The sectors covered represent the main aquaculture products reaching EU markets; tilapia, catfish, shrimps and prawns. Case study stakeholders included SMEs in Bangladesh, China, Thailand and Vietnam where sustainability is essential in the face of rapid growth.

Sustainable Aquaculture Research Networks In Sub-Saharan Africa (SARNISSA)  EU FP7 2008-2011 - ongoing. SARNISSA  was developed to provide a comprehensive online repository of information and also  interactive vehicle for individuals working in African aquaculture development to communicate and share information and contacts, often leading towards mutually beneficial   collaborations. The network has continued to grow and flourish post EU funding into an internationally renowned, self sustaining network with, by November 2015, over 2700 members from across all sectors of African aquaculture. For daily updated news and information on African aquaculture Follow the SARNISSA Facebook site . To Register for the SARNISSA English and French language African aquaculture Email fora Register at


A recent project in partnership with the Marine Ingredients Organisation IFFO, evaluated the current status of global fishmeal and fish oil production. The main focus was to determine the source of the raw materials in terms of species composition, quantities from whole fish and from by-products, from capture fisheries and from aquaculture. Also to determine how much of the supply was regulated by IFFO RS standards. The study found that around 35% of fishmeal and oil currently comes from by-products, but there was a lot of potential for increasing this particularly in parts of Asia but also globally. In Asia there is limited processing of fish, but in other parts of the world, fish processing by-products are often under-utilised

Aquaculture Enterprise Malawi (AEM) was a three year Scottish govt funded project developing and        supporting carefully selected entrepreneurial individuals within a 100km radius of Blantyre, southern Malawi   to become standalone financially viable small scale fish farming businesses. The model  emphasizes the use of good quality fingerlings and commercial feed, and provides initial microcredit for these inputs in the first 6 month cycle. AEM also develops marketing and sales expertise with the target fish farmers and provides small business set up skills   including computer and IT training. To follow the regular activities of the AEM team in Malawi see regularly updated AEM Facebook site


Post-catch survivability of discarded under-sized Norway lobsters: Under the new Common Fisheries Policy in Europe, discarding of wild caught animals is to be banned unless high survival rates can be demonstrated.  This one-year Fisheries Innovation Scotland funded project observed survival of discarded Norway Lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) from catches aimed at the live export market in which undersized individuals are of lower value and may be better returned to sea than landed.  The Sustainable Aquaculture group provided expertise on modelling survival in response to different ecological variables as part of our commitment to sustainability across the Fisheries-Aquaculture continuum. Project report available at


ASEM Aquaculture Platform - An EU 7th Framework Project coordinated by Ghent University and focusing on research, teaching and industry links between Europe and Asia. The Sustainable Aquaculture Research group worked with colleagues in the Aquatic Animal Health Research Group to lead a workpackage to strengthen EU-Asia collaboration on aquatic animal health issues. A separate web sitewas developed and information shared through the Scoop.It service.


AQUA-TNET - the EU Erasmus Thematic Network for Aquaculture Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management. This network was funded for nine years and was coordinated by Stirling over the last three. It brought together between 80 and 100 organisations involved in aquaculture sector education and training from almost all EU Member and Associated States. Activities included focus on innovations in learning and teaching (especially involving the Internet and ICT), the role of generic skill development and enhancing international mobility opportunities. The overall work of the network was summarised in a special edition of Aquaculture International and a separate website was set up to host training materials and courses based around industry case studies (AquaCase).

Ento-Prise was a 2-year DfID-funded project, under the AgriTT Research Challenge Funds, which aimed to give value to low-price organic waste by transforming them into valuable co-products using insects. The project brought development practice and research expertise from China, the UK and Ghana to improve food security through technology transfer and knowledge sharing. The Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) was proven to convert efficiently organic matter into larvae –used as a source of protein- and compost –to fertilize crops. A medium scale insect-production system in the Greater Accra region in Ghana was developed. We have successfully tested the insect larvae meal as a feed substitute for Tilapia fry during their sex-reversal period, and as a source of protein for poultry (Guinea fowl) diet. The left-over susbtrate of the bioconversion process (i.e. frass) was proven to act as a natural fertilizer and soil conditioner on local crops.  

You can follow our activities on the Facebook page of the project and watch our videos on how to breed Hermetia illucens and how to set-up your own production system.