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Innovation kicks off in AquaVitae, with the launch of the first prototypes for low-trophic species aquaculture

Over 100 new prototypes for aquaculture value chains were presented last week, when researchers and aquaculture producers, from all over the Atlantic, met online to share results from the first year of the AquaVitae project.

Food and Natural Resources

The prototypes are the first outputs from the collaboration between aquaculture companies and researchers in the EU-funded €8 million AquaVitae project. Researchers in AquaVitae are working to develop new solutions for low-trophic species production, including macroalgae, shellfish, echinoderms, shrimp and low trophic finfish. The prototypes range from new production methods for algae to new combinations of Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA). “They will be further developed throughout the life of the project. But this is an excellent starting point,” says project coordinator Philip James, a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima). Innovation in aquaculture Aquavitae’s mission is to introduce new low trophic species, products and processes in marine aquaculture value chains across the Atlantic. 35 industry and research partners from 15 different countries, spread across four continents, make up the project. In addition to Europe, prototypes are developed for the industry in countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean, including Brazil and South Africa. “Over the next 24 months, the prototypes will be reviewed in regard to their suitability to meet the needs, demands and safety of consumers, environmental sustainability and economic viability,” James says. He believes this process will help ensure the viability and success of the new species, processes and products, which will form the results of the project. An all-Atlantic virtual meeting The annual meeting was originally supposed to be held in Flórianopolis, Brazil. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 80 participants met virtually instead. The meeting lasted three days and included a workshop with Brazilian stakeholders, in support of increased research collaboration between Europe and Brazil. “We had a great discussion and raised important topics to base the next steps for developing closer links between the Brazilian and European aquaculture industries,” says Eric Routledge, Deputy Head of Research at EmBraPa Fisheries and Aquaculture. Other attendees included the Brazilian Fishfarming Association-Peixe Br, the Brazilian Shrimp Association, the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Agriculture Commission, São Paulo State Industries Federation – FIESP, or aquaculture producers. From Europe, decision makers, project and platform members from DG Research and Innovation, the European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform – EATiP, AANChOR, BlueEco Net and Innovation Norway provided different solutions to support trans-Atlantic collaboration. The meeting also had representation from the South African aquaculture sector. Brazilian cooperation and case studies AquaVitae has three case studies that are conducted in Brazil, working with IMTA biofloc, freshwater species (pirarucu and tambaqui) and marine species (Brazilian flounder). Furthermore, other case studies also conduct part of their activities in Brazil working with oysters, feeds and algae. The collaboration is supported by Brazilian research centres, universities and companies participating in the AquaVitae consortium. Particularly, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation-EmBraPa, the Federal University of Rio Grande, the Federal University of Santa Catarina, a Universidade Estadual Paulista, the Sao Paulo State University and organic aquaculture producer Primar Aquaculture. http://aquavitaeproject.eu

Keywords

aquaculture, Atlantic Ocean, low trophic species, sustainability