The new aquaponics training unit at the University of Montpellier has just been inaugurated.

On Wednesday July 5, 2023, the University of Montpellier inaugurated the new aquaponics training unit at the Station Méditerranéenne de l'Environnement Littoral in Sète, in the presence of Philippe Augé, President of the University of Montpellier, Éric Servat, Director of the Observatoire de Recherche Montpellierrain de l'Environnement (OSU OREME), Laurence Weil, Director of the Service de Formation Continue (SFC UM), and François Pierrot, Deputy Director of the Comité des Investissements Stratégiques et Structurants. 

Aquaculture is a sector that is growing by 5 to 10% a year worldwide, with around 125 million tonnes a year. In recent years, aquaculture production has outstripped that of the fishing industry. This booming sector aims to reach 200 million tonnes per year by 2030, and employs 70 million people. The University of Montpellier is opening an aquaponics training unit to train and upgrade the skills of professionals in this sector.

From left to right: Agnès Fichard Caroll, Eric Servat, Mattéo Valenza, Laurence Magne, Philippe Augé, François Commeinhes, Claude Amiel, Guillaume Raymond, Laurence Weil, Céline Ritterszki.

" This Wednesday, François Commeinhes and I inaugurated the SMEL Sète aquaponics training unit at the University of Montpellier. This unit is supported by our university's I-SITE excellence program, and will enable continuing education trainees to learn practical skills in aquaponics, aquaculture production and aquarioculture," said Philippe Augé, President of the University of Montpellier.

Meeting market needs

The aquaculture vocational training program offered by the University of Montpellier's Continuing Education Department (SFC-UM), based at the Station Méditerranéenne d'Environnement Littoral (SMEL) in Sète, covers the development, use and promotion of aquatic living resources and the management of their environment (aquaculture, aquaponics, leisure and culture, public aquariums, etc.).

The development of this training program is based on meeting market needs, making the most of the knowledge generated by research, mobilizing the expertise of our researchers and our transnational professional network, delivering multi-disciplinary skills and putting them into practice during the training cycles. This global approach has been conceived within the regional ecosystem where research and higher education institutions specialized in Mediterranean and tropical agronomic developments are grouped together (OSU OREME, IFREMER, IRD, CIRAD, CNRS, IRSTEA, INRAE...). 

Training with well-defined objectives

The University of Montpellier wants to develop this training offer and has set itself the following objectives:

  • Transformation of part of the training program to a hybrid e-learning and classroom system,
  • The creation of innovative pilot production units to give SMEL learners hands-on experience,
  • The creation of new diploma and qualification courses,
  • Interact closely with vocational training, R&D and professional network institutions to transfer skills,
  • Promote and strengthen our professional network to develop links between former learners, the professional world and students, and make our vocational training system more visible and accessible.

Thanks to the MUSE Take off 3 and 4 program, the University of Montpellier's continuing education department is developing new training tools, including :

  • An aquaponics production unit: a combination of integrated plant and animal production with high added value in a water recirculation system. Products include market garden produce, medicinal plants, aromatic plants and other aquatic organisms for food or ornamental purposes. The strong points of this system are water savings, bio-security, the possibility of setting up above-ground production close to markets, the creation of micro-businesses and improved performance.
  • A biofloc production unit: with the production of aquatic food or ornamental organisms in a consortium of aquatic micro-organisms such as bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton for water self-purification. The strengths of this system are the same as those of the previous one.
  • A production unit for ornamental marine aquatic organisms in a water recirculation system. The strengths of this system are the same as those of the other two production units, with the added benefit of better protection of wild fish resources.

Practical information:

Inauguration date : July 5, 2023.
Location : Station méditerranéenne de l'environnement littoral de Sète, 2 rue des chantiers, 34200, Sète.