Networking Friday with ASTRAL

On May 28th, 2021, 1-3 PM UTC, we had a very special Networking Friday with ASTRAL (All Atlantic Ocean Sustainable, Profitable and Resilient Aquaculture), which is a HORIZON 2020 project financed under the Blue Growth programme, and is led by the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE). The project will contribute to the implementation of the Belém Statement to develop a strategic partnership on marine research and it will participate in building the All Atlantic Ocean Community.

The project main goal is to increase value and sustainability for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) production by developing new, resilient, and profitable value chains. In IMTA production, multiple aquatic species from different trophic levels are farmed together. Waste from one species are used as inputs (fertilisers and food) for another species. The IMTA process will be used at four ‘labs’ in Scotland, South Africa, Brazil and Ireland; these sites will grow species such as fish, scallops, lobsters, oysters, urchins and seaweed. A prospective IMTA lab will also be assessed for future production in Argentina.

ASTRAL goals include the increase of circularity and the achievement of zero-waste aquaculture systems, as well as the creation of appropriated business models to increasing profitability. Potential climate risks and emerging pollutant (microplastics, harmful algae blooms, pathogens) will be assessed, together with the development of innovative technology (specific sensors and biosensors, IoT and AI data analytics), with the final aim to provide monitoring recommendations to policy makers. Sharing knowledge and capacity development are among ASTRAL priorities, to build a collaborative ecosystem along the Atlantic Ocean with industrial partners, SMEs, scientists, policy makers, social representatives and other relevant stakeholders.


  • 1:00 – Elisa Ravagnan: Welcome (Intro to the session) & Introduction to ASTRAL
  • 1:05 – Joanne Casserly: Overview on ASTRAL IMTA labs, and present peculiarities of each one across the Atlantic
  • 1:25 – Dominique Durand: Innovation trends in Aquaculture: An ASTRAL perspective
  • 1:45 – Patricia Anyanwu: Human capacity development in Aquaculture
  • 2:05 – Bruna Guterres: Aquaculture 4.0: Computer-vision techniques towards HAB classification
  • 2:15 – Andrezza Carvalho: Macroalgae influences in reducing nutrients in shrimp integrated systems
  • 2:25 – Q&A
  • 2:58 – Elisa Ravagnan: Closing remarks


Joanne Casserly

Joanne Casserly

Overview on ASTRAL IMTA labs, and present peculiarities of each one across the Atlantic

Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is at the heart of the ASTRAL project. This presentation will describe the application of IMTA at the 5 ASTRAL IMTA Labs located around the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Each lab has its own unique application of IMTA. Each case will be outlined from location, species, production methods and interactions to build a picture of the different IMTA scenarios. Finally we will describe the aims of each lab, the types of trials and research, the potential risks/threats, mitigations measures adapted and outcomes.

Joanne Casserly is a Scientific and Technical Officer with Foras na Mara, the Marine Institute. The Aquaculture Section focuses on the sustainable development of aquaculture and is involved with a number of local and European research projects and runs the national sea lice management programme. Joanne holds an MSc, specialising in Coastal and Marine Environments and a BSc (Hons) both from the National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland. Joanne’s role focuses on the development of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) and has been a key person in the establishment of IMTA systems and monitoring at the Marine Institutes’ coastal research site – Lehanagh Pool. Previous research includes the H2020 TAPAS project, looking to improve the regulation of aquaculture in the EU and the H2020 IMPAQT project, looking to progress the use of technology in aquaculture. As part of ASTRAL this work will continue to further research the interaction and culturing techniques of low trophic species in IMTA sites.

Dominique Durand

Dominique Durand

Innovation trends in Aquaculture: An ASTRAL perspective

After reviewing the main challenge of the aquaculture sector towards sustainability, key innovative approaches will be discussed , covering environmental footprint, circularity and waste management, feeds and the aquaculture 4.0 revolution. Contributions from the H2020-all Atlantic ASTRAL project will be presented.

Dominique Durand is a senior strategy advisor at the NORCE, , the second largest research institute in Norway. He has a PhD in Environment information technology (2000). From 1991 to 1996 he was heading the remote sensing training department at the French Space Center, teaching earth observing technology and its applications worldwide. From 1996 to 2003 he was conducting research and development in the field of marine water quality, developing algorithms and remote-sensing based warning system for coastal environments (harmful algae blooms) at NERSC, Norway. In 2003 he took the head of the oceanography and ocean observing department at the Norwegian Institute for Water research, then leading the marine branch and European affairs. In 2012, he started as Senior vice president at IRIS AS, a 250-persons Norwegian research institute, leading the Environment and biotechnology branch. Since 1996, Dominique has been working in the European research arena, participating in more than 28 EU research projects (coordinating 3 of them),. In the past 10 years Durand has been working on developing research-innovation partnerships with marine based industries such as Aquaculture, Oil & Gas. Durand is a recognized expert in marine science and ocean observing technologies as documented through his participation in many international expert groups, and boards. In Astral, Dominique is acting as Innovation Manager, accompanying the consortium in the development and exploitation of high-impact technologies and innovations.

Patricia Erig Anyanwu

Patricia Erig Anyanwu

Human capacity development in Aquaculture

Human capacity development has been identified as central to unlocking the potentials of any human production sector for the achievement of United Nations sustainable development goals. Aquaculture according to FAO statistics is the fastest growing animal production sector. However the potentials of this sector is not fully tapped and primarily limited due low skilled manpower among the actors in the aquaculture industry arising from its disciplinary nature.

Development of human capacity requires integrated approach involving all actors in the value chain so as to provide a critical mass of manpower in the different disciplines. Consequently curriculum development for both the formal and informal education in aquaculture must take cognizance of its multi-disciplinary nature of and structure the course programme accordingly. This will help to build competence and deliver a highly skilled workforce for sustainable development of the sector.

Patricia Erig Anyanwu is an aquaculture scientists and research staff of Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research, Lagos. She is presently the Director and Head of the Department of Aquaculture as well as the Director of Research of the Institute. She is a Fellow of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) and a member of the Organization for Women in Science for Developing World among other organization. Dr. Anyanwu is the Team Coordinator for the NIOMR – NORCE – ASTRAL EU H2020 BG-08 Project.

Bruna Guterres

Bruna Guterres

Aquaculture 4.0: Computer-vision techniques towards HAB classification

This talk will discuss the worldwide importance of harmful algae bloom (HAB) monitoring, inherited characteristics and main technological challenges for automated and in situ HAB identification based on computer vision approaches. A few preliminary results will be presented as part of the ongoing work in the H2020 ASTRAL project.

Bruna Guterres is a PhD student at the Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG), funded by the European Commission H2020 ASTRAL project. Bruna has interests in computational models applied to aquaculture applications. Her MSc. dissertation tackled sensor-driven aquatic monitoring using bivalve behavioural analysis. As a result, A.I. models were developed and validated to serve as proxy indicators of environmental water quality, including hazardous conditions. Bruna’s PhD thesis focuses on automated machine identification of harmful algae bloom (HABs) through computer vision and deep learning approaches.

Andrezza Carvalho

Andrezza Carvalho

Macroalgae influences in reducing nutrients in shrimp integrated systems

The shrimp culture in Biofloc Technology System (BFT) tends to produce high concentrations of nitrate, phosphate, and total suspended solids during the cultivation process. The use of macroalgae integrated with shrimp farming results in biomass production through the use of the residual nitrogen presents in the water. The presentation will discuss the nitrogen absorption capacity by the macroalgae, the improvement of the water quality parameters of the shrimp culture, and the contribution of the integrated system with macroalgae in the zootechnical performance of the shrimp.

Andrezza Carvalho has a bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at the Federal University of Ceará-UFC. She recently completed her master’s degree in the PostGraduation Program in Aquaculture at the Federal University of Rio Grande-FURG, focused on Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture and the use of macroalgae in the absorption of nutrients in shrimp farming. She is currently a PhD student at the Federal University of Rio Grande-FURG, funded by the European Commission’s project H2020 ASTRAL. Her research interests include nutrient absorption and different crop structures for macroalgae in integrated systems and the use of macroalgae in shrimp nutrition. She is a member of the Shrimp Project -FURG, which aims to develop super-intensive culture technologies for Litopenaeus vannamei In Biofloc Technology System (BFT).


Elisa Ravagan

Elisa Ravagnan

Elisa Ravagnan is a senior environmental scientist with more than 20 years of experience in environmental modelling and statistics, inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches to environmental challenges. She has been leading and participating in many national and international projects and industry financed projects in aquaculture and marine sciences. Recent and current projects include: holistic assessment of aquaculture sustainability, development of supporting tools for marine spatial planning (lead, RCN funded AquaAccept), modelling environmental and socio-economic effects of climate changes and man-made pollution on aquaculture (lead, CliCAS, RFF), multivariate assessment and spatial modelling in INFRAIA- JERICO-NEXT, task leading on data management as well as engaging with stakeholders in H2020-BG-04 (i-FishIENCi, Aquaculture 4.0), aquaculture footprint analysis in ERA-Net COFASP ECOAST. She is co-leading the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Blue Bioeconomy SUREAQUA (funded by NordForsk) and she is a member of the Rogaland County reference group (Norway) for the Aquaculture Regional Plan. She is the coordinator of the recently awarded H2020 BG-08-2019 project ASTRAL: All Atlantic Ocean Sustainable, ProfiTable and Resilient AquacuLture.


Tania Li Chen

This session would not have been possible without Tania’s hard work and persistence. Thank you again and again, Tania.

We will continue with the Networking Fridays during the next months. More information about future sessions as well as presentations and videos from previous sessions can be found here. Twitter Hashtag: #netfridays. Expect some very exciting afternoons, or mornings or evenings, depending on where you are…

If you need any additional information please send an email to Jose Luiz Moutinho.

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