Access2Sea at Swansea Science Festival

The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research had the pleasure to be part of the Welsh largest free science festival last Saturday (24 Oct 2020). We were live but virtual, in the fringe stage. We had the opportunity to launch our video where we showcased our research and unique aquaculture facilities in the UK. Participants were very engaged and had many questions about fish invasive species (brown trout) in the Falklands. Jess Minnette is finishing her PhD and had the opportunity to share her exciting research in this remote South Atlantic archipelago.

There were also many questions about sustainable diets in aquaculture and the role of fats such as omega-3 from microalgae oil. Some concerns were raised about heavy metals in fish and the differences between farmed fish and wild fish. Sergio Trevi had the opportunity to introduce his PhD research on farmed tilapia. Dr Sara Barrento explained the differences between macro and microalgae and introduced the Access2Sea project. While Paul Howes shared some exciting news about the new biophilic building project at Swansea.

Text by Dr Sara Barrento

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, Swansea University

Speakers announced for the 2nd symposium on welfare in aquaculture

The Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Research is delighted to announce the line-up of speakers for the Second Symposium on Welfare in Aquaculture (SWELA 2020). This year the symposium is going to be a webinar on the 26th of November with free registration.

The theme for SWELA 2020 is “Operational Welfare Indicators (OWI) for farmed fish”. Six speakers will be discussing OWI for 5 key aquaculture fish species farmed in Europe: salmon, lumpfish, sea bream, sea bass, and tilapia.

The symposium is a follow up from the very successful SWELA 2019, focusing on Welfare Indicators for Novel species. The number of farmed fish outnumbers by far any other sentient animals farmed for food.

A recent report by the Access2Sea project highlighted that consumers are starting to realize how their food is produced; they are becoming more sensitive to the welfare of animals and the wellbeing of workers – fish welfare in aquaculture is extremely important.

This symposium promises to be an unmissable opportunity for professionals working in fish farming across the sector. We encourage everyone interested in fish welfare – farmers, researchers, and aquaculture suppliers – to register for free here.


Text and images by Dr Sara Barrento

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, Swansea University

Nature make us happy: let’s bring it to our cities

The Biophilic Living Swansea project aims to bring nature into our living urban space and make us happier and healthier.

We spend 90% of our lives in buildings.

If you think this is because of the coronavirus, think again – the data was collected in the early nineties in the USA. With the recent lockdowns our worlds have suddenly shrunk to the size of our homes – if you have one. Although it seems we are an indoor modern society, we know walks in the park, hikes in the forest and strolls along the beach relieve stress. The lockdown has proven that spending time in nature is essential for our wellbeing and mental health – it has a soothing effect, and we really need this in times of COVID and beyond.


Should we then re-think the design of our buildings, and how can aquaculture be part of this new vision?

BIOPHILIC LIVING AT PICTON YARD SWANSEA is committed to implement this vision of conserving and celebrating nature in urban spaces. The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) is proud to be part of this project.  This is a radical new approach to living and working in the city, it will provide affordable new homes and workspaces alongside a community urban farm in the heart of Swansea. This farm will include greens but also fish. We aim to build an aquaponics facility where fish will be grown with vegetables.

This project by Hacer Developments has been designed by Powell Dobson Architects in Swansea.  The concept is the result of extensive collaborative working among a range of local organisations, including Swansea University, the Active Building Centre, Public Health Wales, Swansea Community Farm and Sero Homes Ltd.

To learn more about the biophilic concept check this link


Text and images by Dr Sara Barrento

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, Swansea University


Marine Spatial Planning in times of COVID

In times of COVID, healthy eating and living become even more relevant. Seafood is, of course, considered to be an important part of a healthy diet.The fish is the dish campaign, run by SEAFISH in the UK puts it plainly in the paragraph below:

“Warmer, sunnier days help boost our vitamin D levels. But if the current climate means you need to self-isolate and cannot go outside, Sea fish’s nutritional consultant Juliette Kellow comes to the rescue with her guide to how fish can boost your vitamin D levels.”


Fish is served at UK schools only once a week, often as a menu option and only one kind of seafood offered. Cost and lack of knowledge on how to cook seafood seems to be the main obstacles to increasing consumption.

Raising consumers’ awareness on the health benefits of seafood, is a public priority.  Selfish, a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) HAS £10 billion budget to support UK seafood industry.  Fish is the Dish is Seafish’s consumer brand, educating consumers in a fun and supportive way about how easy it is to cook fish, its health benefits and where to buy.

One of the main ways to sustainably increace UK seafood production is to increace local domestic consumption.


The team at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research are participants in the Welsh Government Aquaculture expert panel.

The latest webinar meeting was this Thursday the 14th of May. The meeting focused on Welsh Marine Spatial planning, which is crucial if we want to expand the aquaculture sector in the UK. CSAR is planning the best way to engage with stakeholders and hear their concerns. The sector needs to build resilience to face challenges ahead.


Text and images by Dr Sara Barrento

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, Swansea University


What do teenagers think about aquaculture?

It was sunny in Pembrokeshire, Wales on the 11th of March – a luxury in this part of the world. The Marine Energy Event took place in the Bridge Innovation Centre on this date. This event targeted 16 to 18 years old students from local Welsh colleges. Dr Sara Barrento from the Centre of Sustainable Aquatic Research delivered 4 workshops on aquaculture. 

What is aquaculture? This kickstarted a conversation around aquaculture and its impacts.

The workshops attended by 69 students aimed to disseminate the Access2Sea project. It was also the ideal platform to deliver the aquaculture awareness questionnaire. We want to know what civil society thinks about aquaculture.

It seems our students kind of know what aquaculture is.

But they are divided when it comes to aquaculture environmental impacts – it can be positive (52% agree), but it can also be negative (58% agree).

Most students agree on two things: 
  1. aquaculture can be good to the local economy
  2. it can have negative impacts on fish welfare
The 11th of March was 2 weeks ago, it was also the day The World Health Organisation officially declared a pandemic. Coronavirus is changing our society at an unprecedented pace. What does this mean for seafood and the aquaculture industry? Time will tell.


Text and images by Dr Sara Barrento

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, Swansea University

Sustainable Aquaculture Workshop

The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research had the pleasure to host international colleagues to the Sustainable Aquaculture Workshop held on the 19th of February, 2020 at Swansea University. Four international speakers presented and facilitated discussions around hot topics in aquaculture.

  • Paul Howes introduced the Access2Sea project
  • Dr Sara Barrento explained the concept of biophilic leaving and how aquaponics can be used in biophilic design.
  • Prof. David Gethin showcased the STREAM project: Sensor Technologies for Remote Environmental Aquatic Monitoring.
  • Fleuriane Fernandes highlighted the potential of microalgae production in waste water treatment

All participants add the opportunity to visit the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research facilities including the RAS systems for tropical and cold water species from freshwater and marine habitats.