MAREA – MAtchmaking Restoration Ecology and Aquaculture, proposes itself as a restorative aquaculture project, aiming to find the best method to allow for both restoration and aquaculture of Ostrea edulis, using the Venice lagoon as a pilot study area.
The restoration involved a first part of adults transplantation, where 2000 adults (50% year 1 and 50% year 2 to have both sexes present) from Mali Ston Bay in Croatia were imported and installed in a mussel culture site. For ease of access during the first year they were kept in suspension, using cages, and monitored monthly for growth or all tissues including reproductive activity and mortality. At the end of the monitoring, adults were then transplanted on the seabed underneath the mussel farming to act as seed source. Substratum under the farm and under other farms was also enhanced with shells, directly from the farm activity, to enhance settlement and new beds formation.
The feasibility of collecting seed in situ for aquaculture purposes is also investigated. The second year is focusing more on the aquaculture side, designing the production chain. Young seed (again 2000 individuals) were bought from a hatchery located in Goro (NaturEdulis), spawned from adults from the northern Adriatic. Their growth and survival are being monitored, and farmers are being engaged frequently to co-design the production chain in the most optimal way. The project will have as output a manual for farming using a ‘restorative’ approach as well as scientific publications and models that will enable upscaling of the methods.
The project is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship (Individual Fellowship), funded under Horizon2020 G.A.886037
Further information: https://pric.unive.it/projects/marea/home
A short video clip, explaining the aims of MAREA: https://youtu.be/2_08WUYJfQg