Integrated and sustainable freshwater bioeconomy: combining aquaculture, biodiversity preservation, biotechnology and other uses | Deadline 23 February 2022

Deadline:  23 February 2022
Budget:  10.000.000 EUR
Countries:  France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia


  • Aquaculture


A successful proposal should support the farm to fork’s strategy objective of a transition to a fair, healthy and resilient European agriculture, notably its objective to promote agroecology, and the target to reduce the overall use and risk of chemical pesticides[1], by unfolding the potential of agroecology to provide alternative weeding strategies that reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides used as herbicides. This will support the transition to sustainable, safe, productive, climate-neutral and resilient farming systems that minimise the pressure on ecosystems while ensuring fair economic returns for farmers.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Evidence of optimal and innovative combinations of holistic alternative weeding techniques based on agroecological approaches in different European pedo-climatic conditions for a wide range of crops and farming systems, including conventional, organic and mixed farming;
  • Quantitative and qualitative evidence of the social, economic and environmental sustainability and performance, as well as trade-offs, of different alternative weeding strategies across Europe at farm, landscape and regional levels, and in the medium to long term;
  • Robust evidence of factors influencing farmers’ decision-making and improved knowledge co-creation and feedback among actors in the food value chain, resulting in ease of use, end-user acceptance and increased implementation of alternative and holistic weeding strategies based on an integrated use of agroecological approaches;
  • Improved, open access to data on current weed management practices and use of herbicides across several representative European agro-ecosystems.


Freshwater systems host an immense biodiversity and support a multitude of activities providing livelihoods to inland populations. Lakes, ponds and rivers require a transition to more sustainable and environment-friendly productive ecosystems through optimal water management and planning, mutually benefiting the different ecosystem services by developing economic activities in rural areas, maintaining the biodiversity, and increasing resilience to climate change and water crises.

Aquaculture, in particular integrated multi-trophic or recirculating aquaculture systems, can be key for the development of lakeside and riverside areas as it can be combined with other bio-based activities, such as farming, livestock and the use of hitherto unused naturally produced biomass. Addressing environmental concerns, such as the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and the Habitats Directive, are essential for sustainable growth of freshwater aquaculture. Preserving biodiversity, including health and biosecurity issues, is also key for potential biotechnological applications that should also be explored under this topic.

The Strategic Working Group on Fisheries and Aquaculture (SCAR-Fish) of the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) highlighted in a recent study[1] several issues that urgently need to be explored by research and addressed by innovation, such as climate change-related issues and issues of profitability. Research in this topic should consider the priorities of the SCAR-Fish study.

Strong and active involvement of stakeholders and end-users, including industry and NGOs, in a co-creation approach, is key for the success of the projects that will be selected.

International co-operation with partners from non-associated third countries is strongly encouraged as a win-win scenario, while contributing to the European competitiveness and resilience.


More information on the EC funding and tender opportunities portal

Call: HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-05