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Examining the Opportunities for Multiuse Activities in the Mediterranean Sea: Aquaculture and Renewable Energies (MEDAQUA)

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a practical way to create and establish a more rational organization of the use of marine space and the interactions between its uses, to balance demands for development with the need to protect marine ecosystems and to achieve social and economic objectives in an open and planned way. With this purpose, the present action pursues to implement a pilot application to address aquaculture and renewable energy exploitation opportunities in two specific sites of the Mediterranean Sea and to identify opportunities for multiple use of the space through the co-location of these activities. The methodological approach developed is based on Copernicus marine and climate change data services and has been widely implemented and validated at the global, regional and local scale.

Task 1. Opportunities for offshore aquaculture. Task 1 will address the opportunities for the aquaculture at two sites of the Mediterranean Sea. Species with high commercial potential in the Mediterranean and/or a large farming trajectory in the aquaculture industry will be examined. The opportunities for farming fish, shellfish and macroalgae species will be analyzed using long-term Copernicus data series (20–30 years), at different temporal (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly) and spatial resolutions (0.1°-0.5º). The methodology is based on a three-step approach integrated by: i) the biological suitability –  to identify areas with optimal conditions for the growth of the species; ii) the structural suitability –  to identify adequate areas for the integrity and durability of the cages; and iii) the operational suitability – to evaluate the possibility of carrying out the operational and maintenance activities.

Task 2. Opportunities for offshore marine wind and wave energy exploitation. This task will examine the potential zones for the exploitation of offshore wind and wave energy at two sites of the Mediterranean Sea. Long-term Copernicus marine data series will be used to evaluate the spatial and temporal dynamics of the study area. Analyses will be based on the reference operating thresholds of wave devices and large wind turbines. The methodology is based on a five-step approach, integrated by: i) the resource assessment – to identify zones with optimal conditions for energy exploitation; ii) the structural survival – to identify adequate areas regarding the wind and wave devices integrity and durability; iii) the logistics – to evaluate the possibility to carry out installation, operations and maintenance activities; iv) the consumer centers distance – to estimate the feasibility for energy transport to the main urban areas; and v) the energy production of the identified potential zones.

Task 3. Opportunities for multiple use of the space through co-location. Under thistask, the opportunities for multiple use of the space through the co-location of aquaculture, wind and wave energy exploitation will be examined. A combined map integrating the probability range for aquaculture, wind and wave activities will be used to identify zones with co-location opportunities at two sites of the Mediterranean Sea.

Task 4. Lessons Learnt and Knowledge transfer and exchange. This task will homogenize and standardize marine spatial methodologies across the European countries and synthesize the activities and outcomes of the project. To improve knowledge transfer and exchange, consolidate and standardize the procedures applied and the outputs achieved, a webinar with the participation of European and national stakeholders, authorities and companies, will be held. The achievements from the project will be transferred on to society through the IHCantabria’s MSP Platform (url: and the FPCUP homepage.

Output and Results

  • High resolution probability maps with the locations most likely to gather optimal conditions for the aquaculture, the exploitation of offshore wind and wave energy and for the multiple use of the space through the co-location in two sites of the Mediterranean Sea
  • Webinar with the participation of the different actors involved (stakeholders, administrations, private sector, users, local communities, etc.)