View of Lehanagh Pool site, Connemara Co Galway, showing a boat parked at a fish farm at the Marine Institute's research site.
Lehanagh Pool research site in Galway. Image: Marine Institute

Online aquaculture course schools learners on new marine discipline

6 Aug 2021

A new online course, developed with Ireland’s Marine Institute, introduces learners to integrated multi-trophic aquaculture.

A new online aquaculture course has been developed as part of a research project coordinated by the Marine Institute and is now available on Open University’s OpenLearn Create platform.

The course focuses on an area of aquaculture that is still relatively new, called integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA). This involves farming multiple species from different levels of the food chain together in a way that benefits the whole ecosystem and the farmer.

The Impaqt research project, which is coordinated by Ireland’s Marine Institute and funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to bring IT to aquaculture by using AI and technology to analyse marine behaviour.

Those enrolled on the new course will become familiar with both IMTA and the research done by Impaqt. The course is geared towards those working in the aquaculture industry as well as stakeholders, policymakers and investors in the sector.

It will provide an introduction to IMTA and how it can be applied to improve the aquaculture industry’s sustainability and economic output. A precision aquaculture module will emphasise the importance of monitoring marine life using sensor technologies to improve the quality of the yield.

“This new course presents the outputs and results from the Impaqt project in an accessible, understandable and dynamic online format,” said Frank Kane of the Marine Institute, who is Impaqt’s coordinator.

“The online training course will help to strengthen the research and innovative aquaculture landscape by transferring the key aspects of IMTA to stakeholders, investors and enterprises interested in starting up or integrating an IMTA system.”

The four-module course can be completed in eight hours, although students can choose to take modules individually if they wish. The course will be delivered using a mix of text and short video lectures by Impaqt project partners.

Students will learn about the Impaqt platform, a computerised monitoring system that uses AI to provide farmers with key information on water quality and fish welfare using data from images and satellites.

The platform was designed and tested at the Marine Institute’s research site in Lehanagh Pool in Co Galway, the Keywater Fisheries IMTA site in Co Sligo, as well as four other aquaculture sites in Europe and China.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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