Semester 1

The first semester of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society + (EMJMD ACES+) is spent at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), which is an academic partner of the University of Highlands and Islands. UHI-SAMS is a centre of excellence specialising in the environmental impacts of aquaculture, particularly in cold water marine environments, new innovative technologies and systems to reduce this impact. For over 25 years, SAMS-UHI  has also specialised in coastal policy which integrates natural, socio-economic sciences to implement an ecosystem approach to the planning and management of coastal environments.
Key staff include; 4 Professors, a Reader, a Senior Lecturer and two Lecturers with backgrounds in sustainable aquaculture, socio-economics, marine ecology and marine policy. All senior staff members have considerable experience in influencing policy at European and international level.
UHI-SAMS provides the foundation modules for this programme.
  • Overview of Global Aquaculture (UD411986)
  • Aquaculture Environmental Interactions (UD411983)

Optional (choose one)

  • Innovation, Technology and Systems (UD411985)
  • Governance, Management and Knowledge Exchange (UD411984)
  • Managing Biological Lifecycles – Micro- and Macroalgae (NEW MODULE starting from September 2019)
MODULE 1: Overview of Global Aquaculture (Core: 10 ECTS)

Module Leader: Dr Helena Reinardy

Description Students will gain an extensive, detailed and critical knowledge of the main theories, principles, concepts and technology related to the global aquaculture industry. Students will also gain a critical awareness of the current issues facing the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry and to apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to these issues that are at the forefront of, or informed by, developments associated with the aquaculture industry.

Indicative content includes:

  • History and future of aquaculture: global trends using the industry in the Far East (China) and Scotland as case studies
  • Physical and biological parameters: oxygen, current flow, temperature, light, sources of food and food conversion ratios, waste products and their fate, fouling and its avoidance, life cycles
  • Aquaculture structures: larval biology of fish and shellfish, on-growing structures, contrasting fish and shellfish
  • Species in aquaculture: globally and locally (algae, shellfish and fish, new species)
  • Disease: causes and avoidance of disease, treatments, genetic manipulation of aquaculture stocks, environmental risk benefits of therapeutic intervention
  • Fish behaviour: feeding, aggression and activity rhythms
  • The economics of aquaculture
  • Overview of sustainability and environmental/ societal impact of aquaculture: nutrient loss to the environment (dissolved and particulate), chemical (including medicines for sea lice and diseases, antifouling agents) biological pollution (escapees), sustainability of aquaculture feed supplies and resource use in the coastal zone.
Teaching methods Seminars, workshops, aquarium practicals, guided uses of open learning materials, site visits to industry
Assessment Written assignment (50%) and written report based on 3 practical sessions (50%)
MODULE 2: Environmental Interactions of Aquaculture (Core: 10 ECTS)

Module Leader: Professor Elizabeth Cottier-Cook

Description Students will gain a detailed and critical knowledge of how the various types of aquaculture have different types of interactions with the environment, and how the nature of these interactions depends on the receiving environment, the species cultured, the intensity of culture, and the methods of culture. It will also consider any cumulative impacts.  In many cases, negative interactions of aquaculture are quite well understood and regulations are in place to mitigate these to some extent. However, this is not the case in many developing countries.  A key feature of aquaculture is the extent to which it has a social licence to operate and this is, in many cases, related to perceived or real environmental impacts.

Indicative content includes:

  • Assessment of the different sensitivities of the various environments in which aquaculture is practiced with respect to salinity, temperature, trophic status, exposure.
  • Key interaction types: nutrient release, organic wastes, medicine/chemical losses, depletion of freshwater resources, release of diseases/parasites, utilisation of feed stocks, carbon footprint, effects on biodiversity, mango destruction, alien species, escapes, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
  • Carrying capacity and cumulative effects
  • Mitigation strategies
  • Predicting impacts through modelling
  • Case studies looking at contrasting systems e.g. tropical, Mediterranean, boreal fish culture.
  • Regulation, monitoring and policing strategies
Teaching methods Seminars, guest scholars, tutorials, practical modelling exercises, guided use of open learning materials, fieldtrip to aquaculture facility
Assessment Group study and presentation (50%) and simulation exercise followed by presentation and written assignment (50%)
MODULE 3a: Governance, Management and Knowledge Exchange (Optional: 10 ECTS)

Module Leader: Professor Elizabeth Cottier-Cook

Description Students will gain an extensive, detailed and critical knowledge of the main features, techniques and current research regarding governance, management and knowledge exchange of the aquaculture sector within a global context. The module will focus not only on top-down governance from policy and regulation, but will also examine local governance and market drivers.

Indicative content includes:

  • Governance: an introduction
  • Policy driving global aquaculture: at the international, EU and national levels
  • Types of actors and legislation governing aquaculture
  • Rapid Policy Network Analysis: introduction to a technique which enables the user to quickly and easily grasp the complexities of policy topics
  • KSTAR Concept (K*) (Knowledge Exchange)
  • Stakeholders within the marine environment: perceptions of aquaculture & areas of conflict
  • Marine Spatial Planning for aquaculture: introduction to tools and techniques used for marine spatial planning
  • Stakeholder facilitation/conflict resolution: introduction to techniques used
  • Consumer attitudes to aquaculture
  • Certification and Eco-labelling
Teaching methods Seminars, guest workshop (including UNU session), tutorials, panel discussion, guided use of open learning materials.
Assessment Poster assignment (70%) and preparation and participation in role play exercise (30%)
MODULE 3b: Innovation, Technology and System (Optional: 10 ECTS)

Module Leader: Dr Adam Hughes

Description Students will gain knowledge that covers and integrates the evolution of the production systems globally and the main drivers for technology development.  With the market for aquaculture supplies and equipment expected to reach $63B, this module will link directly with industry, to provide a critical understanding of the major growth areas and a critical awareness of the future needs of aquaculture technology and systems.

Indicative content includes:

  • Aquaculture production techniques: An overview of production techniques and their current evolution, this will include enhanced fisheries, ranching, extensive and intensive techniques.
  • Physical and biological parameters: oxygen, current flow, temperature, light, sources of food and food conversion ratios, waste products and their fate, fouling and its avoidance, life cycles.
  • Aquaculture systems: from earthen ponds to cages to indoor systems there are a range of aquaculture systems used globally, including systems of polyculture and mixed agricultural / aquaculture systems. Environmental and economic constraints of the systems will be examined.
  • Biotechnology and Aquaculture: much of the global aquaculture production is under pinned with biotechnology such as microalgal production, genetic manipulation, hybridization, genetic engineering, vaccine development.
  • Aquaculture Engineering: the design and construction of aquaculture facilities such as off shore production and recirculation systems.
  • Feed Technology: an introduction to the ingredients, processing and production of feeds for the aquaculture industry.
Teaching methods Seminars, tutorials, guided use of open learning materials, site visits to industry
Assessment Horizon scanning exercise (50%) and business case presentation (50%)