Revolutionizing Aquaculture and Restoring Marine Space with ULTFARMS:The Launch of the Circular Low Trophic Offshore Aquaculture Projectin Wind Farms
ULTFARMS (Circular Low Trophic Offshore Aquaculture in Wind Farms and Restoration ofMarine Space) was approved under the Horizon Europe Ocean Mission call titled Lighthousein the Baltic and the North Sea basins – Low impact marine aquaculture and multi-purposeuse of marine space. ULTFARMS is a 42 months project that has started on January 1st, 2023,and ends on June 30th, 2026. It is lead by Deltares, an independent institute for water andsubsurface research based in the Netherlands. The consortium of the project consists of 25members from 9 different countries.
ULTFARMS aims to revolutionize the application of Low-Trophic Aquaculture (LTA) systemsthrough the integration of novel engineering, technical, ecological, and biological processesto optimize production in harsh offshore conditions, low-salinity environments, and withinOffshore Wind Farms (OWFs). This will be achieved through the development of six LowTrophic Aquaculture Pilots (LTAPs) located in offshore wind farms across the North andBaltic Seas. The pilots will cover the entire value chain expertise for LTA production in OWFsand will include Belwind (Belgium), Borssele (the Netherlands), FINO2 and FINO3 (Germany),Anholt (Denmark), and Samsø (Denmark).
ULTFARMS will bring togetherstakeholders from across the valuechains of OWF and LTA to ensure thatenvironmentally sound, low-carbon, andsafe LTA products are produced fromdesign to commercialization. Newcultivation structures, grow-out systems,and eco-friendly design measures will beadvanced through the project. Throughintegrated monitoring and managementplatforms such as the HiSea serviceplatform and by drawing on existingopen databases and operationalforecasting systems such as CMEMS andSeaDATANET, the planning andoperation of LTAs will be effectivelysupported through an enhancedtechnical service.
ULTFARMS will offer services to aquaculture producers for monitoring and minimizingdiseases and alien species, managing inputs, optimizing sustainable production, and demandmanagement including risk analysis. Furthermore, the project will share lessons learned andinnovations developed through comprehensive communication and dissemination activities,which will be underpinned by the active involvement of five Associate Regions (ARs)throughout the project.
ULTFARMS will generate a profitable, sustainable, and ecological production chain of lowtrophic level species, such as seaweed and molluscs, in offshore wind farms located in theNorth Sea and Baltic Sea. This project has received 9.6 million euros from the EuropeanUnion’s Horizon research and innovation programme and will help to boost the selfconsumption of these products in Europe while reducing the carbon footprint of theirproduction.