This week’s webinar is presented by Master of Professional Science Student Melissa Pelaez. Melissa discusses the potential sustainability of an ecosystem based approach to aquaculture – integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), in her Conservation Biology class taught by Dr. Neil Hammerschlag.
Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture is an ecosystem production approach to aquaculture. It is achieved by setting up an aquaculture facility based on organisms from different trophic levels. The species are arranged in a manner where the organic and inorganic wastes of the higher trophic level species, for example, fish, can be further broken down by species lower on the trophic level, for example, mussels. Furthermore, plant species lower on the trophic level, such as seaweed, breaks down the inorganic wastes. This practice increases efficiency by using wastes productively as nutrients for other aquaculture species and leads to environmental sustainability through the bio-filtration of the water.
“Aquaculture already provides almost 50% of our seafood, this percentage is continually growing, it is safe to say Aquaculture is not going anywhere,” says Pelaez. “We can’t wait until it’s too late to start doing aquaculture sustainably. There needs to be a legislative framework put in place sooner rather than later to allow large scale experimental and commercially responsible aquaculture such as IMTA.”