Information about publication

Integrated marine and brackishwater aquaculture in tropical regions: research, implementation and prospects.

Max Troell. In D. Soto (ed.). Integrated mariculture: a global review. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 529. Rome, FAO. pp. 47—131.


This report covers the present situation and the potential for the practice of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in the world’s marine temperate waters. IMTA is the practice which combines, in the appropriate proportions, the cultivation of fed aquaculture species (e.g. finfish/shrimp) with organic extractive aquaculture species (e.g. shellfish/herbivorous fish) and inorganic extractive aquaculture species (e.g. seaweed) to create balanced systems for environmental sustainability (biomitigation) economic stability (product diversification and risk reduction) and social acceptability (better management practices). In summary, – Canada, Chile, China, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (mostly Scotland) and the United States of America are the only countries to have IMTA systems near commercial scale, or at commercial scale, at present. – France, Portugal and Spain have ongoing research projects related to the development of IMTA. – The countries of Scandinavia, especially Norway, have made some individual groundwork toward the development of IMTA, despite possessing a large finfish aquaculture network. – All countries discussed have enormous potential for IMTA growth and development. Genera of particular interest and those with high potential for development in IMTA systems in marine temperate waters include: – Laminaria, Saccharina, Sacchoriza, Undaria, Alaria, Ecklonia, Lessonia, Durvillaea, Macrocystis, Gigartina, Sarcothalia, Chondracanthus, Callophyllis, Gracilaria, Gracilariopsis, Porphyra, Chondrus, Palmaria, Asparagopsis and Ulva (seaweeds). – Haliotis, Crassostrea, Pecten, Argopecten, Placopecten, Mytilus, Choromytilus and Tapes (molluscs). – Strongylocentrotus, Paracentrotus, Psammechinus, Loxechinus, Cucumaria, Holothuria, Stichopus, Parastichopus, Apostichopus and Athyonidium (echinoderms). – Nereis, Arenicola, Glycera and Sabella (polychaetes). – Penaeus and Homarus (crustaceans). – Salmo, Oncorhynchus, Scophthalmus, Dicentrarchus, Gadus, Anoplopoma, Hippoglossus, Melanogrammus, Paralichthys, Pseudopleuronectes and Mugil (fish). These genera have been selected due to their established husbandry practices, habitat appropriateness, biomitigation ability and economic value. In order to ensure the expansion of IMTA in these regions several steps should be taken where appropriate. These include: – Establishing the economic and environmental value of IMTA systems and their co-products. – Selecting the right species, appropriate to the habitat, available technologies, and the environmental and oceanographic conditions, complementary in their ecosystem functions, growing to a significant biomass for efficient biomitigation, and for which the commercialization will not generate insurmountable regulatory hurdles. – Promoting effective government legislation/regulations and incentives to facilitate the development of IMTA practices and the commercialization of IMTA products. – Recognizing the benefits of IMTA and educating stakeholders about this practice. – Establishing the R&D&C continuum for IMTA. Taking all these factors into account, IMTA can be used as a valuable tool towards building a sustainable aquaculture industry. IMTA systems can be environmentally responsible, Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in marine temperate waters 9 profitable and sources of employment in coastal regions for any country that develops them properly, especially when government, industry, academia, communities and environmental non-governmental organizations work in consultation with each other.

Back to publications