In Mexico, the high demand for fish is driving manufacturers to develop offshore aquaculture. But the very fragile marine ecosystems of the Caribbean would be threatened by the introduction of conventional aquaculture, which produces waste and suffocates the environment.
The proposed project aims to develop a land-based Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) system using saline groundwater, a resource that is abundant in the Yucatan Peninsula. IMTA is an innovative practice in which different species cohabit, so that the by-products of one species can be recycled as nutrients for another. It’s a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly form of aquaculture, because less feed is needed, and the water is naturally purified by the organisms in the “circuit”.
The aim of the project is to explore the potential of this innovative land-based aquaculture and promote the development of this technology to protect the Caribbean’s fragile marine ecosystems (mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass beds). The wealth of saline groundwater would enable aquaculture sites to be relocated up to 100 km from the coast in this region.
Through interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers from three institutes and local stakeholders, the project seeks to explore innovative solutions that will lead to the development of sustainable technology packages and a pilot plant.
In addition, the development of this AMTI would make it possible to both launch a new economy managed by local and marginalized communities in the interior of the country, and tobring food security to the region’s inhabitants.