Aquaculture is often put forward as a solution to meet the growing demand for healthy products from the sea. But is large-scale aquaculture feasible in the Belgian part of the North Sea? The MARCOS project explores three possible scenarios in this regard in detail.
Sep 2020 - Mar 2021
DBC project

The MARCOS project will explore and analyse the potential of large-scale offshore aquaculture (LSOA) for three scenarios: (1) as a stand-alone activity in designated areas; (2) integrated in newly developed zones according to the multi-use principle; (3) integrated in operational wind farms.

For each of these scenarios, the strengths, weaknesses, risks and knowledge gaps will be identified. Based on this, a roadmap will be developed which describes what efforts, innovations and knowledge building are needed to increase LSOA’s chances of success.

To achieve the objective, the following steps will be taken:

  1. Identifying LSOA evaluation criteria to provide a qualitative estimate of the window of opportunity in the Belgian part of the North Sea;
  2. Deploying numerical modelling to better understand the impact of hydrodynamic conditions on LSOA and the wave attenuation effect of LSOA;
  3. Identifying LSOA design options using solutions for anchoring, installation requirements and interaction with infrastructure in wind farms;
  4. Evaluating the potential of different mariculture types (e.g. mussels and seaweeds) using a number of test cases in the North Sea;
  5. Drawing up a roadmap summarising the answers to research questions and describing the scope of future innovation projects on LSOA;

With this study, the MARCOS project aims to take a substantial and substantiated step towards future LSOA developments and investments. The roadmap will be used to select topics that the MARCOS project partners will further develop in follow-up projects.

Partners: Haedes (lead), AtSeaNova, Brevisco and DEME

With the support of: VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship)

Contact: Kristien Veys

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