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IMARES, The Netherlands
Strategic and applied marine ecological and aquaculture research

The institute was established in mid 2006, the result of a merger between RIVO (the Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research), elements of Alterra and the Department of Ecological Risks within the TNO. Products and services include field studies, real-life scale experiments, exploratory studies at the laboratory level, data management and modelling. The institute has modern research facilities at its disposal, is ISO certified and accredited for chemical and ecotoxicological research. Clients include the government and national and international businesses. Wageningen IMARES specializes in strategic and applied marine ecological research. Products and services include field studies, real-life scale experiments, exploratory studies at the laboratory level, data management and modelling.

The field of work compromises:

  • Ecology
  • Marine Fisheries
  • Environment
  • Aquaculture

The field of work entitled ‘Aquaculture’ includes the farming of both animal and plant organisms, and so encompasses everything from catfish farming to the cultivation of seaweed. The mainstay of Dutch aquaculture is the farming of fish and shellfish. Shellfish farming is concentrated along the coast, while fish farming takes place in water recirculation systems. Currently, the possibility of silt-based agriculture  is receiving a great deal of public attention in the Netherlands.

Fishfarming

Worldwide, fishfarming is experiencing continued growth. There are several reasons for this – the catches yielded by conventional fishing methods are declining, while the demand for fish protein is increasing. Technological advances are also playing a role in making fishfarming easier.

Shellfish

Alongside the growth of fish farming, consumption of shellfish has also increased. Increased demand for protein has had an effect on this form of agriculture. Like fish, shellfish form a part of our traditional diet, even though they have now become a luxury product. Shellfish farming has long been practiced in the Netherlands.

Silt-based agriculture

There are excellent reasons for promoting this form of agriculture. As the sea level rises, more and more of our agricultural land is liable to silting up, particularly in the world’s coastal regions. Significant changes are also taking place in the boundary between freshwater and saltwater, with implications for the natural world. An ideal solution to this challenge would be to make use of silt-based agriculture and cultivate plants which thrive in salty conditions.