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Programme: Fishery European Fund (FEAMP Project – Regione Puglia, Italy)

PO FEAMP 2014-2020; Bando Misura 2.47 “Innovazione”, n. 205 del 5.12.2017,

BURP n. 141 del 14.12.2017

Project title: Rearing of bait worms (polychaetes) in an integrated aquaculture system

Acronym: ESCA

Duration: 2020-2022

Project budget: € 139.575,00

ISMAR budget: € 81.900,00

Web site: -

The FEAMP Program (Fishery European Fund), supports innovation in aquaculture by “promoting the development of technical, scientific and organisational knowledge that reduces the impact on the environment”. Aquaculture discharge often contains unacceptable levels of suspended solids and nutrients. Sand filters are commonly used to remove particulate matter and treat waters in aquaculture systems; several species of segmented marine worms have been documented growing in them without requiring feed supplementation. The objective of the present project is to develop a PASF (Polychaete Assisted Sand Filter) that helps in removing nutrients from wastewaters coming from the facilities of a fish farm, whilst also producing polychaete species that are highly valued as a bait and as sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids in aquaculture feed industry. The polychaete production has an additional environmental value, as it offers the potential to reduce impacts of sourcing worms from the wild, as well as the risk of the introduction of non-indigenous species into the coastal ecosystems through uncontrolled international trade in live bait. With this aim, several different sand bed designs are being constructed and tested at the fish farm Azienda Ittica Caldoli (Poggio Imperiale, FG), in order to develop an innovative rearing system, specifically integrated with the fish farm facilities, that simultaneously remediate wastewater and produce harvestable polychaete biomass without supplemental feeding.

Contact person in ISMAR:


  1. Istituto per le Risorse Biologiche e le Biotecnologie Marine (CNR-IRBIM) – (Italy)
  2. Istituto di Scienze Marine (CNR-ISMAR) – (Italy)
  3. 3. Ittica Caldoli Società Agricola a Responsabilità limitata, Poggio Imperiale (Italy)
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