Efficient use of resources: aquaculture and marine technologies Research groups

Our innovation, development and technology transfer addresses the need of marine and coastal economy sectors to guarantee an efficient use of natural resources to ensure environmental, economic and social sustainability of their activity.Our main fields of activity are:AquacultureWe look for alternatives to meet a growing demand for fish products.To do so, we boost transformation and sustainability of aquaculture through technology solutions in three fields:

  • Development of “new species” and new aquaculture products:
    • Feasibility studies on biological cycles, nutrition, welfare of fish/seafood, use of nutrients, metabolism and genomics.
    • We create new aquaculture products of high nutritional quality which are very welcomed by consumers.
  • Design, development and optimisation of production systems, both onshore and offshore: we include operational solutions, business plans, market analysis, aquaculture engineering, improved offshore cage farming, water quality and diversification strategies.
  • Environmental management of aquaculture activity: Ecological interaction and social image through the comprehensive management of the coastal areas, environmental impact assessment and/or hydrodynamic studies.

Sustainable fishing technologiesAt AZTI we strive to find alternative technologies which allow us to minimise fishing impact on marine environment, improving on board operations, safety and occupational comfort on board.We do this in close co-operation with the fisheries sector through research projects focused on three fields:

  • Reducing environmental impact of extractive fishing: we look for alternatives improving selection patterns of fishing gears and minimising both undesired associated catch levels (discards) and fish survival. This should lead to optimisation of fishing activity performance and adaptation to regulatory requirements.
  • Optimisation of fishing gears: we support the sector in improving fishing efficiency and optimisation of catch probability. How?
    • Through the list of oceanographic parameters and fish distribution (remote detection, own IT software for catch management and ship-land information transmission).
    • Improving on board workers’ safety, adapting to occupational risk prevention systems and ergonomic assessment for each vessel and type of fishing.
  • Energy efficiency in the maritime-fishing domain: we analyse the vessel’s operational pattern by adapting specific characteristics of each sector to know fuel consumption and we propose improved consumption and gas emissions (sector fleet carbon footprint analysis) and alternatives to use residual heat from Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). Furthermore, we design energy-efficient ships.

Operational OceanographySystematic description and prediction of sea behaviour.Thanks to real-time monitoring and measuring systems of marine processes supplemented with numerical applications, we can forecast sea behaviour. Moreover, we have vast experience in assessing the anthropogenic impact on the marine environment and mitigating the impact of accidental events such as oil spills. We work in two research lines:

  • Forecast to estimate coastal risks: we work in the application and assessment of forecast models: physical environment conditions (waves and marine current), pollutant drifting, storm impact on coastline and maritime rescue.
  • Metocean information systems: we manage ocean-meteorological station and buoy networks, for real-time monitoring of the sea conditions for different sea users.

Maritime transportWe apply and develop technologies for maritime and port sectors.Using state-of-the-art monitoring systems, numerical simulation tools and geographical information management, we design solutions for the following lines:

  • Port environment: We implement environmental monitoring of dredging and waste discharges; port water renewal studies; harbour resonance; contingency plans; and risk assessments tools for accidental spills.
  • Navigation: We work with maritime safety and energy efficiency tools.

Marine energyWe are committed to marine renewable energy as a way to contribute to sustainable economic growth and employment generation.We offer our marine environment knowledge and expertise to support initiatives in this developing sector, focusing on the following actions lines:

  • Marine Spatial Planning: We design coastal resource planning tools, analyse the use and co-ordination of resources with assessment scenarios of marine energy social and economic impact to select locations of infrastructures for marine energy use.
  • Assessment of Energy Resources: We characterise resources to select the location, pre-design or feasible technologies. We carry out previous energy assessments with intermediate detail studies at spatial scale (1 to 10 km) and time scale (at least seasonal variation). We develop accurate energy resource assessment systems at project construction and installation level.
  • Design Tools for Energy Capturing Structures: Based on the environmental factor as design component (physical, biotic and socio-economic environment), we create operational oceanography tools aimed at managing sea energy capturing infrastructures. We develop ocean-weather variable analysis methodology focused on the design and management of sea energy capturing infrastructures.
  • Tools for Marine Park Operation Management for Energy Generation: We design operational oceanography tools aimed at managing sea energy capturing infrastructures. We develop operational oceanography integrated systems aimed at managing sea energy capturing infrastructures.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies: We carry out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies and support administrative processes and regulatory framework.
  • Environmental Monitoring: We implement Environmental Monitoring schemes for sea energy capturing projects on: Underwater noise, Benthic communities, Ichthyofauna, Marine mammals, Marine dynamics, Electromagnetism, Socio-Economy and Landscape.

BiotechnologyOur researchers are committed to one of the major future challenges: finding solutions for the sustainable and productive managment of the oceansTo do so, we make use molecular ecology and biotechnology focused on three application areas:

  • Molecular Ecology Knowledge Base: we analyse organism evolution relationships; we generate reference genomes and transcriptomes and gene tracking maps.
  • Molecular Biology: We identify species when morphology has limitations (e.g. fish eggs, fish larvae) or to identify mollusc species in larval stage colonising offshore aquaculture structures. We determine, through genetic methods, the population structure, i.e. age and gender of commercial species, and stock delimitation and connectivity in protected areas of population structure and biodiversity, respectively. We identify food chain structure (predator-prey interactions), biodiversity in environmental samples and origin and introduction paths of invasive species.
  • Biotechnology: We look for new genes, products and molecules in samples coming from extreme environments (e.g. deep ocean) and industrially relevant surfaces (e.g. submerged surfaces to understand biofouling formation).

Tourism and leisureWe apply state-of-the-art technologies for coastal management to the field of tourism and leisure.Agreed, integrated and sustainable management of the natural heritage requires improving knowledge of complex processes which regulate it, including interaction between anthropogenic activity and environment conditions. We work in the following three lines:

  • New forecast systems of storm impact on beaches
  • Assessment of coastline tourism resources (user density of beaches, wave quality monitoring for surfing, etc.)
  • Innovation in the leisure sector

Science field

Physical Sciences

RIS3 Priorities
  • Biosciences & Health
Main researcher
Julien Mader