Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture
"The stars are finally aligned" - Dr. Thierry Chopin
Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is a method of growing in proximity multiple and complementary organisms from different levels of the food chain, which mimic the functioning of natural ecosystems.
IMTA is the practice which combines, in appropriate proportions, the cultivation of fed aquaculture species (e.g. finfish/shrimps) with inorganic extractive aquaculture species (e.g. seaweeds) and organic extractive aquaculture species (e.g. shellfish/sea cucumbers) to create a balanced ecosystem management approach to aquaculture for environmental sustainability (biomitigation), economic stability (product diversification and risk reduction), and societal acceptability (better management practices).
UNB Saint John's Dr. Thierry Chopin and his research team have been conducting a significant amount of research on this method.
Here is some more of what Dr. Thierry Chopin had to say as IMTA products are being commercialized: "a very important point is that, as indicated by Loblaw, we are on a journey toward 100 per cent aquaculture sustainability.
This means that we have not arrived there yet, but we are doing something to get closer. We have a producer, True North Salmon Company, adopting an innovative practice, we have Canada’s largest food distributor, Loblaw, leveraging its buying power to influence the evolution of aquaculture, and we, the IMTA R&D team, are in the middle to help with our R&D to scale IMTA up to commercialization.
The stars are finally aligned (each of us needs interactions with and incentives from the others to complete the circle). That is exactly where we are: we are in a very interesting case of ecosystem responsibility from the egg, through science, to the plate!
We are all working on an innovative initiative to drive sustainability-based transformational changes."