Call for aquaculture projects that put sustainability centre


The government of Flanders has put out a call for applications for funding for aquaculture – farming of fish, shellfish and plants in both freshwater and the sea

‘Priority’ for agriculture minister

The Flemish government has allocated €1.7 million for innovative research into aquaculture that aims to benefit the economy as well as the environment.

Aquaculture is the cultivation of, for example, fish, mussels, shrimp, lobsters and aquatic plants such as algae, which are grown in ponds and basins or at sea. The funding will be granted to projects that make the farming of fish, algae and shellfish more sustainable through initiatives such as using existing ponds or harnessing residual heat from neighbouring buildings.

“Developing and making aquaculture more sustainable is one of my priorities in the coming years,” said agriculture minister Hilde Crevits (CD&V). “With this call for aquaculture projects that will, for example, create sustainable production of shellfish and algae at sea or reduce the ecological footprint of fish farming, we are taking an important step in this direction. Flanders wants to develop innovative aquaculture that meets today’s challenges such as sustainability, but also anticipates future needs in terms of food, water and energy.”

Third round

Flanders’ aquaculture policy has three broad objectives, and projects seeking funding must address at least one of them. These are the development of sustainable aquaculture production with attention to both economic and ecological aspects; the development of integrated, sustainable and innovative aquaculture production, both in recirculation systems and in open spaces at sea and on land under controlled conditions; and the provision of local supply of food with a low ecological footprint.

Projects must be carried out by or with a recognised scientific or technical organisation. Each project can apply for up to €500,000, which will be financed equally by Fiva – the local fishing and aquaculture sector’s financing authority – and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

This is the third time the funding has been made available; the previous two rounds were worth a total of €1 million each. In the previous calls, resources were spent on projects that included the cultivation of scallops, oysters and seaweed in the Belgian part of the North Sea. 

Photo: Oyster farming at Aquacultuur Oostende
© Jacky Puystjens