SustainAqua – Integrated approach for a sustainable and healthy freshwater aquaculture

Funding: EU-Project in the 6th EU Framework Programme
Project Duration: 11.09.2006 - 10.09.2009
Project Manager: Alexandra Oberdieck

SustainAqua is a three-year collective research project partly funded by the European Union under the Sixth Framework Programme. The project is directed at the European freshwater aquaculture sector, which faces growing competition from countries with lower production costs. To make the industry more competitive the project aims to help farmers diversify their production, increase their product quality, and improve their production methods.


European freshwater fish farmers are fighting a battle on two fronts: On the one hand with the spread of globalisation they are increasingly forced to compete with producers from countries with far lower costs of production. On the other hand they have to conform to the stringent demands of European and national legislation with regard to product quality, environment and health. In addition there are legal restrictions on the discharge of effluents, water extraction, the use of chemicals and genetic modification. The success of Europe’s freshwater aquaculture sector depends to a great extent on farmers’ abilities to face these challenges.


SustainAqua aims to make freshwater aquaculture more sustainable and thereby to help European aquaculturists to become globally competitive. The overall objective of the project is to expand the knowledge base of European freshwater aquaculture farmers by training them to:

  • develop a range of economically valuable products and by-products,
  • increase product quality, and
  • improve production methods. 

In addition to assisting farmers to profitably cope with low cost competitors on the one hand and restrictive legislation on the other, the project expects to have significant collateral benefits. From a broader perspective, the consortium expects to increase employment in the sector particularly in rural areas and generate information that will contribute to making the industry more environmentally sustainable.

By focusing on sustainable aquaculture production the project aims to improve the image of the industry and its products in the eyes of end consumers and potential customers. The project will also present a variety of technological possibilities and information on how to upgrade different conventional aquaculture systems. The new technology is expected to have significantly lower construction, maintenance and running costs than conventional systems particularly in the case of wastewater treatment.