Imagine a sustainable aquaculture model

Between an R&D activity on aquaculture feed and tests, in this case on a simplified aquaponics model in Senegal, the bridges seem natural. They have yet to be realised: that is the whole purpose of this sustainable aquaculture programme.

Environment & biodiversity

  • Locations:
    Les Embiez (France)
  • Sponsor:
    Mathilde Nithart
  • Grant:
    €300,000 to the Board of Directors meeting of 17 May 2021

Project leaders

Promoting new forms of aquaculture is a necessity. There will soon be 9 billion people to feed. As we well know, our resources are limited; we can no longer produce our food by destroying the resources, disrupting our ecosystems and emptying the oceans. Our ability to innovate, particularly to create or recreate virtuous and sustainable food chains, is a key element in our ecological transformation.

This is the whole purpose of the project supported by the Veolia Foundation and carried forward by two players from the sector: the National Aquaculture Agency (ANA) in Senegal and the Paul Ricard Oceanographic Institute (IOPR) in France.

Simplified aquaponics in Senegal

The Veolia Foundation has been involved in a pilot programme in Senegal since the spring of 2020. The project is based on a simplified aquaponics model: an aboveground fish tank is built three metres above the ground, in the middle of fields. To supply it, a well equipped with a solar pump sends water to the tank inlet.

The benefit for the collective that operates it is twofold: the system can produce more than 5,000 kg of fish per year and the water in the tank, loaded with nitrogen, phosphate and potassium thanks to the fish, irrigates the neighbouring market garden fields where production, in the first tests, is up 20%.

The repayment of the loan by the beneficiaries allows the economic interest group to finance a further tank and ensure the replicability of the model.

Research on aquaculture feed in France

In the Var Department, with the support of the Veolia Foundation, the Paul Ricard Oceanographic Institute (IOPR) has been working since 2018 on developing an insect protein‑based aquaculture feed. A worm meal-based formulation was successfully tested in 2020. The IOPR wants to go further and, to accommodate the research effort conducted by its teams, it is developing a platform on the Les Embiez island in the Var Department. The aim is to test more virtuous and more sustainable inputs such as soldier fly worms and marine worms.

The teams have not yet met but the Veolia Foundation wishes to pool the support that it has already provided for these two initiatives and which it is renewing, because the development of more virtuous food production models can only prosper on the basis of innovative partnerships, transfers of skills and feedback.

A collaboration with enormous potential

The challenge is therefore to organize the collaboration between the IOPR and the Senegalese ANA, which is in charge of deploying the aquaponics model, around a low-tech fish and aquaponics production model.

The ANA will contribute its expertise and ability to organize technical training for the operators. When the time comes, it may also support the switch to a Senegal‑wide operation.

For its part, the IOPR will provide technical support to establish the pilot hatchery, try to identify the factors for optimizing fish production and offer aquaculture training at its laboratory dedicated to aquaculture practices. Hosted on the Les Embiez marine platform, it aims to become a hub for inter‑regional expertise open to the international market.

By promoting different perspectives on a subject of general interest, the Foundation intends to allow the emergence of sustainable and replicable models.