Title:
Environmental Impact Assessment study for the expansion of the fish farm Ichthys Eco-Farm (IEF) Ltd from 300 to 1500 tonnes/year

Duration:
10 months (February – November 2023)

Funded by:
Ichthys Eco-Farm (IEF) Ltd.

Project Description:
Marine & Environmental Research (MER) Lab was contracted to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the expansion of the licensed gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) – European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) marine fish farm operated by Ichthys Eco-Farm Ltd, located within the administrative boundaries of Moni Council (Limassol). With their vision of responsible fish farming, Ichtys Eco-Farm Ltd has embarked on expanding their annual production capacity from 300 tons to 1500 tons.

Operating under the EU’s EIA Directive (2011/92/EU as amended by 2014/52/EU), our project ensures compliance with the regulatory framework, which mandates that major development projects in the EU undergo assessment for their environmental impact before implementation. The EIA procedure aims to the protection of the environment and upholds transparency in the decision-making process for both public and private ventures. With its wide scope and broad purpose, the EIA ensures that environmental concerns are addressed right from the beginning of a new project. Furthermore, the EIA process actively engages the public, inviting their thoughts and comments on proposed projects.

To conduct a comprehensive EIA, MER undertook the collection, evaluation, and analysis of baseline data within the study area, utilizing a combination of primary and secondary data sources.

  • Collected data on spatial planning, oceanography, population, geology, climate, air quality, water quality and fishing from Governmental Bodies (Department of Land and Surveys, Statistical Service, Geological Survey Department, Department of Meteorology, Department of Labour Inspection, Department of Environment, Department of Fisheries and Marine Research).
  • Carried an evaluation of maritime and coastal/inland activities.
  • Conducted assessment on habitats, marine flora, and fauna through dives and the use of a towed camera.
  • Examined the ecological status of the marine environment by applying the biological indexes PREI and BENTIX.
  • Collected sediment samples and carried out organic matter and granulometry analyses.
  • Utilised data from previous research conducted by MER within the study area.
  • Conducted bibliographic review.

To investigate the dispersion of waste produced from the fish farm, MER utilized the MERAMOD dispersion model across different scenarios. These scenarios encompassed four different setups of cages and two seasons (best case and worst case). The aim was to assess: (i) the dispersion of aquaculture waste from the fish farm and (ii) the potential benthic impacts on the seabed.

Building upon this analysis, MER:

  • Implemented the ̏The Environmental Impact Assessment of Certain Projects, Law (Ν. 127(I)/2018, Ν.23(Ι)/2021 )ʺ
  • Identified, described, and assessed the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts that might be generated during both the construction phase and operation of the proposed project.
  • Recorded and taken into consideration the views of the public and stakeholders regarding the potential increase in production at the fish farm.
  • Proposed approaches to mitigating any adverse effects on the environment.
  • Provided scientifically sound recommendations that will facilitate the sustainable expansion of the fish farm, aligning with both regulatory requirements and industry best practices.

The EIA is currently under review by the Department of Environment and other relevant authorities.

A synopsis (Greek version) of the EIA results can be found in the following link:

EIA Ichthys Summary Findings