BACKGROUND. The over-exploitation and depletion of traditional fisheries has resulted in a reduction of fishing quotas and a restructuring of the fleet all over Europe. This has, in turn, caused a loss of traditional jobs and increased unemployment in many coastal communities. As a result, aquaculture has diversified significantly and today it constitutes an important and flourishing industry with high expectations for the future. AquaReg is a cooperation between the regions of Galicia in Spain, Border, Midland and Western (BMW) in Ireland and Trøndelag in Norway. These are all strong marine regions, situated at different latitudes along the Atlantic Coast. The intention of these regions is to establish a long-term cooperation in aquacultures and fisheries and to make more efficient use of the experience and knowledge of aquaculturists, fishermen and scientists across regional and national borders.
The overall objective of AquaReg is to provide opportunities and design strategies for the sustainable development of peripheral coastal communities by promoting interregional cooperation in aquaculture and fisheries. The RFO focuses on three clearly defined priority themes:
- AquaLink: Linking aquaculture/fisheries business and research
- AquaEd: Education and training
- AquaPlan: Coastal zone planning and management.
The cooperation will contribute to coherent and sustainable development in aquaculture and fisheries in the three regions involved; promote innovative actions and business development in relevant marine industries; and increase employment in the marine sector. “AquaLink” will stimulate collaboration between researchers and the aquaculture business. “AquaEd” will encourage interregional exchanges of students, trainees, and experts in industry and provide training courses for fish-farm managers and aquaculture industry decision makers. “AquaPlan” will result in an exchange of best practises in coastal zone utilisation and planning.