Environmentally sustainable aquaculture – fundamental issues and practical applications (SUSTAINAQUA)


Okolišno održiva akvakultura – temeljna pitanja i praktične primjene


National recovery and resilience plan 2021. – 2026.






National recovery and resilience plan 2021. – 2026.

Environmentally sustainable aquaculture – fundamental issues and practical applications (SUSTAINAQUA)

European aquaculture is currently facing the challenge of balancing the growing demand for fish resources and reducing pressure on natural fishing areas. Two main obstacles have been identified in the effort to establish sustainable aquaculture: (i) the negative impact of escaping fish from farms on the biodiversity of native fish stocks and (ii) the lack of a sustainable feed source for fish due to overfishing of small pelagic fish and the limitations of current alternative feeding practices that use plant ingredients as protein sources. To help address these challenges, the proposed project has two main objectives: (1) to assess the impact of aquaculture on the environment by developing tools for genetic traceability (identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs) of wild and farmed fish and to detect their interbreeding; and (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative protein sources in fish diets by experimentally feeding fish with analysis of growth performance, nutritional composition, phenotype, gut microbiome and histological structure, gut RNA sequencing and differential gene expression analysis. Modern research methods make it possible to study the genetic effects of mariculture on wild fish populations with the aim of improving the management of fish escapes. A holistic research approach to evaluate the effects of alternative protein sources on farmed fish will provide insights into the potential benefits of new feed components and provide guidelines for their optimization.

To address the challenge of achieving environmental sustainability in aquaculture, the SustainAqua project focuses on (1) determining the extent and impact of interactions between farmed organisms and their wild counterparts of the same species and (2) developing a sustainable circular economy by exploring alternative protein sources on the growth and health of fish in mariculture, using modern operational technologies and contemporary molecular techniques

The planned research will be strategically integrated and complement some of the existing studies being carried out in the Laboratory for aquaculture, creating synergies, continuation and further development of already established research

Project team

The SUSTAINAQUA project has started

The implementation of the SUSTAINAQUA project “Environmentally sustainable aquaculture – fundamental issues and practical applications”. The project is funded through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021-2026 and will last for 4 years. On this page, you will be able to follow our activities and the progress of the project.