OS Aqua

The Open Sea Aquaculture in the Eastern Mediterranean (OS Aqua) Project was co-financed with €800.000 by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research and Innovation Foundation (grant number INTEGRATED/0918/0046).

OS Aqua was a national project that enabled the strategic development of an open sea aquaculture industry in Cyprus. In addition to significantly increasing food production, the project aimed to minimize impact to the natural environment. The project defined maritime zones, design facilities, automatization and monitoring systems and conducted a financial sustainability study.

Work Package 3

Cyprus Subsea collaborated with the Hellenic Centre of Marine Research (HCMR) and University of Nicosia Research Foundation (UNRF). HCMR and UNRF developed an environmental model to use in environmental impact assessment of aquaculture. CSCS assisted them with ecosystem modelling. This model joined available data – both observed and simulated – to produce a series of simulations specifically for impacts on the environment and fish welfare at a local scale.

In addition to ecosystem modelling, CSCS identified potential allocated zones for offshore aquaculture with HCMR, UNRF, Oceanography Center – University of Cyprus (OC-UCY) and Geomatic Technologies.

Work Package 4

Cyprus Subsea contributed to Work Package 4: Spatial Planning of Marine Aquaculture. In addition to stakeholder deliberation for offshore mariculture zones, CSCS recommended suitable zones for offshore aquaculture.

Work Package 5

Cyprus Subsea was the leader of Work Package 5: Design of off-shore marine aquaculture station. In particular, CSCS led the first task and participated in the last two:

  • Onsite survey of a selected area
  • Finfish species for offshore aquaculture
  • Technology applicable to open sea aquaculture

Work Package 6

Cyprus Subsea also participated in Work Package 6: Ongoing monitoring of Offshore Mariculture stations along with UNRF, OC-UCY, HCMR, Geomatics and the Cyprus Department of Fisheries and Marine Research. In particular, Cyprus Subsea led the second task and participated in the first and last tasks:

  • Monitoring parameters of Aquculture unit
  • Cage Status Sensors
  • Early warning system for cage monitoring

These tasks involved:

  • examining the availability of sensors to monitor the cage status,
  • providing best practice guidelines for environmental monitoring off offshore aquaculture &
  • designing a cost-effective environmental monitoring system to support offshore aquaculture.

Overall, the OS Aqua provided a host of socioeconomic benefits to Cyprus that included increasing food exports, attracting investments, opening new work positions and ensuring social acceptance and environmental sustainability.

This project received funding from the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research and Innovation Foundation under grant agreement No INTEGRATED/0918/0046.