AFI-51306 Circularity in Aquatic Food Production


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work4
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)MAJ Nederlof
dr. MCJ Verdegem
Lecturer(s)MAJ Nederlof
dr. MCJ Verdegem
HM Jansen
dr. ir. JW Schrama
Examiner(s)dr. ir. JW Schrama
dr. MCJ Verdegem

Language of instruction:



Seafood will increasingly contribute to the growing demand for sufficient and healthy food worldwide. Hence, substantial growth of the aquaculture sector is foreseen. At the same time the topic of ‘Circular food production’ is high on political agendas to ensure that growth of food production takes place in a sustainable manner. This course will outline how the development of aquaculture can play a role in circular strategies at sea. We will focus on valorization of marine systems through low trophic production (micro-algae, seaweed, shellfish and benthos). During the course you will explore frameworks to assess ecological sustainability of seafood production, and develop insights in the balance between provisioning of ecosystem services and ecological trade-offs of large scale seaweed/shellfish farming onto natural capital (Environmental Impact Assessment including biodiversity, carbon capture, nutrient cycling and carrying capacity), taking into account other maritime functions at sea. Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is a typical example of circular farming, aiming for climate robust production systems with minimal negative effects on the ecosystem. The concept of IMTA is used as an example to provide insight in the circularity of aquatic farming systems in Europe and Asia considering waste turnover efficiencies (coupling physiology to ecology to define nutrient recycling potential), and it will be demonstrated how innovations in farm design and management can influence (ecological) sustainability.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to:
- outline the challenges and opportunities for seaweed and shellfish production in the context of circular aquatic food systems
- discuss how circular aquatic food production contributes to sustainable global food production
- summarize a number of farm-ecosystem interactions and understand how Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessments are used to evaluate these interactions
- explain how environmental factors drive the physiology and ecological functioning of micro-algae, seaweed and shellfish and how this varies between natural and IMTA systems
- learn to establish and explain nutrient balances of seaweeds and other low trophic species in mono-culture and in Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) systems and define nutrient turnover efficiencies
- integrate the disciplines of low trophic production, circularity, sustainability, and IMTA as a whole in societal, economic and ecological value creation


- lectures;
- tutorials;
- case Study.


- written test with open essay questions (60%, minimum mark 5.5);
- presentation of case study, group work (10%, minimum mark 5.5);
- assessment of case study report, group work (30%).
In order to pass this course, attendance of tutorials and case study meetings in mandatory.  

Compulsory for: WUSEABSc Minor Seagriculture3WD