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AFRY to help boost cod stocks in Baltic

Wed, 16/12/2020 - 08:00 CET

New research facility for large-scale demonstration project. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Baltic Sea is one of the most contaminated inland seas in the world. Eutrophication, overfishing, increased shipping and emissions have all contributed to turn the Baltic into a sea in crisis. The Baltic cod is uniquely adapted to survive in the specific habitat of this inland sea. It is an apex predator that plays a key role in the food web.

Based on a pilot study that AFRY conducted in spring 2020, the company strengthened its trust and was given the responsibility to drive the project to transform the existing research station in Ar on northern Gotland, Sweden. The refurbishment aims to adapt the research station to implement a large-scale demonstration project called ReCod – releasing codlings into the Baltic Sea.

The project will involve breeding and releasing cod larvae into the Baltic Sea to observe whether and how they survive, whether they manage to establish themselves in new locations, and the cost of doing this. If the measures are successful, it could function as a template for future controlled releases. The adaptations to the research station include refurbishments and process installations so the facility is able to keep and breed cod and cod larvae for release into the Baltic Sea. Before the larvae are released, they are bathed in a dye that provides a marker on their otoliths, or ‘earstones’. When the cod are recaptured, the project will then be able to determine whether the larvae hatched at the research facility.

AFRY’s task is to create the right water quality and treatment process in the spawning and incubation tanks, and provide the right infrastructure.

“It’s very important for us to be able to keep the fish under secure and safe conditions at Ar so we can achieve successful spawning, but also to live up to the specific requirements regarding the environment in which the fish are kept. AFRY’s experience of process engineering will be very useful for the project, which is currently in an intensive design and establishment phase,” says Konrad Stralka, executive member of BalticWaters2030.

“We’re proud to have been entrusted with this important work of helping make the Baltic Sea more sustainable,” says Lars Wikström, COO/Director of Sales in Food & Pharma at AFRY.

About cod and ReCod:

Cod feed mainly on sprat, which in turn feed on zooplankton. High numbers of sprat mean less zooplankton, which can then reduce the amount of phytoplankton, or plant plankton. Too much phytoplankton leads to algae blooms and dead zones on the seabed. If the cod die out, it will alter the entire ecosystem of the Baltic Sea.

ReCod – releasing codlings in the Baltic Sea is a project managed by the BalticWaters2030 foundation in close partnership with Uppsala University and in cooperation with the Swedish Association of Sport Fishing and Fishing Conservation. Find out more about the project at balticwaters2030.org.

AFRY är ett internationellt företag inom teknik, design och rådgivning. Vi hjälper våra kunder att utvecklas inom hållbarhet och digitalisering. Vi är 17 000 hängivna experter inom områdena infrastruktur, industri och energi, som arbetar över hela världen för att skapa hållbara lösningar för kommande generationer.

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