Using insects in aquaculture feed could provide a cost-effective, sustainable replacement for fish meal.

Ireland’s Marine Institute joins insect protein project

Ireland’s Marine Institute is joining forces with six partners from five countries on a project to develop new approaches for the aquaculture sector in Ireland and across the EU Atlantic Basin.

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INvertebrateIT is looking at the publication of society- and policy-facing infographics on the proper value of unused aquaculture resources.

The INvertebrateIT project supports initiatives including the production of insects for sustainable fish feed, as well as competitive aquaculture and integrated waste management.

The project’s partners - Technopole Quimper-Cornouaille from France, Spain’s Innogate to Europe and Cluster de la Acuicultura de Galicia, Portugal’s Fórum Oceano, the International Insect Centre from the Netherlands, and Ireland’s AquaTT and Marine Institute - are bringing closer together different sub-sectors to produce valuable animal proteins such as insects and marine invertebrates.

Pauline O'Donohoe, of the Marine Institute, said: “Recently the consortium invested in three projects, IPATAC, EntoGreen and MUSFLOUR, and over the next 12 months, we will work with them, providing them with focused resources. Using insects in aquaculture feed provides a more cost-effective, sustainable solution to replace the use of fish protein. It will also benefit the circular economy by utilising waste as the substrate for insect growth.”

While the original objective was to boost the investment-readiness level of the winning projects to pre-commercial level, the quality and status of the three chosen projects were more advanced than expected, with one already launched to market. The consortium has planned how to address this challenge and has developed a revised strategy to ensure that the correct support is provided.

Project co-manager Luis Lozano from Innogate to Europe said: "We are one year in and our progress has been good. Working in a disruptive sector, our consortium has brought together a colourful collection of individuals that you often don't find in a European project. This includes industry clusters from maritime aquaculture sectors; aquaculture farmers and insect breeders; visionary entrepreneurs; veterinarians; public administrators; science communicators; and innovation specialists. It's exciting seeing so many people come together with different backgrounds and ideas to explore this new niche market."

INvertebrateIT is open to supporting innovative initiatives on the issues, in the framework of providing information on different funding tools identified at European, national and regional levels of the partner countries. It is also looking at advising the proper value of unused resources and the publication of society- and policy-facing infographics on the topic.

More information on INvertebrateIT and the winning projects is available at