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Strengthening cooperation in European research on sustainable exploitation of marine resources in the seafood chains- ERANET

Final Report Summary - COFASP (Strengthening cooperation in European research on sustainable exploitation of marine resources in the seafood chains- ERANET)

Executive Summary:
The key objective of the COFASP ERANET was to strengthen cooperation and synergies between European research programme owners and managers, focusing on the benefits and needs for the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Processing sectors.
28 institutions from 17 countries have participated in the four years collaboration. The ERANET network was built around common activities that could lead to a common research agenda, and concrete results such as joint calls.

During the entire ERANET period COFASP has launched three joint calls, the last of which was in collaboration with the Marine Biotechnology ERANET (ERA-MBT), totalling the allocation of more than €17 mio. distributed between 16 projects.

The COFASP activities included a series of four case studies. Four topics were selected for the planned COFASP Case Studies: 1. Regional similarities and differences in aquaculture; 2. Coordination of EMFF implementation; 3. Regionally-Integrated and Spatially-Explicit Fisheries and Ecosystem Management; 4. Seafood processing – pan-EU challenges.
A range of stakeholders were invited to these workshops to provide knowledge and input. For each case study a report was made and COFASP collated the main findings into a single COFASP Case Studies report “Perspectives for the Fisheries, Aquaculture, Seafood Processing in the EU – The COFASP Case Studies”. The findings have also been utilised in defining the Strategic Research Agenda developed by COFASP towards the end of the project.

COFASP initiated a foresight study with a large stakeholder group. The aim of the study was to develop a research agenda defining the research required in the medium term (15 years) to enable a sustainable exploitation and farming and retailing of aquatic resources. The findings of the study were presented in a public report, ‘view on the future research of European Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Processing’. A re-visit of the foresight to discuss the challenges towards 2050 were done in November 2016 together with EFARO, SCAR-FISH, JPI Oceans and in collaboration with Marine Board.

A mapping of past and existing research projects in the FASP sectors have been carried out and analysed. All the data collected are now accessible through an online database allowing for easy search of all projects carried out on a specific issue/area. This online database is available at and it will remain open for new entries. The database was updated in January 2017 and had at that moment more than 2,700 projects stored in the database. A WEB GIS interface allow for visual searching of the database entries.

The current status and needs of human capacity development of European fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing was carried out in order to identify gaps and bridges and presented in ‘Report on training needs, interviews, and outreach’.

Main findings of other activities led to reports on ‘New tools for capacity building’ and ‘Strategic mobility plan’. These were followed up in a workshop on ‘Strengthening human capital through targeted mobility actions in the COFASP sectors’.

During the 4 years the COFASP ERANET has been running the partnership has been active and interacted with other relevant initiatives, and has e.g. participated in SCAR Foresight and SCAR-FISH. COFASP has also interacted with EC and e.g. ICES and European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform (EATiP) for strengthening the international research and innovation cooperation around Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Processing in the Atlantic region as well as the ASEAN region. This has included initial mapping of EU US/Canada collaborations with a focus on aquaculture research. The results was further elaborated on by ICES and brought into the AORAC inventory of existing cooperation between partners. COFASP also participated in the bilateral dialogue with Brazil in a meeting to operationalise the RIO event recommendations and in meetings exploring European interests in collaboration on aquaculture research with China/ASEAN countries, which provided input to a H2020 call on Reinforcing international cooperation on sustainable aquaculture production with countries from South-East Asia..

The Strategic Research Agenda is the final deliverable that is the synthesised result of the work COFASP has carried out in four case studies and a foresight study with high involvement of industry and NGO stakeholder groups. These activities has also provided the basis for the 3 joint calls, and have contributed to the understanding of the needs and challenges in the different regions in the three sectors, and worked towards common research agendas. As a result, this has led to expression of a strong commitment among partners to continue collaboration in a new public-public partnership instrument. Outline for such a new collaboration has been developed together with JPI Oceans and ERA-MBT.
Project Context and Objectives:
The overall objective of COFASP is to strengthen cooperation and synergy between major European national funders that support research on sustainable exploitation of marine resources in the seafood chain. The key objectives of COFASP are to strengthen cooperation and synergies between European research programme owners and managers with the aim to foster and enhance: a) research on the exploitation of marine renewable resources to ensure sustainability and to enhance innovation in and competitiveness of the primary sectors fisheries and aquaculture as well as subsequent seafood processing and distribution to the consumer; b) science to underpin the CFP and related policies and directives to ensure their successful implementation by designing complementary national research programmes, identifying scientific capacity required, and outlining observation and information/data sharing systems needed.
Project Results:
The key objective of the COFASP ERANET was to strengthen cooperation and synergies between European research programme owners and managers, focusing on the benefits and needs for the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Processing sectors.
28 institutions from 17 countries have participated in the four years collaboration. The ERANET network was built around common activities that could lead to a common research agenda, and concrete results such as joint calls.

In the work of two dedicated work packages COFASP aimed to analyse potential common programme contents and joint calls and produce a final paper on common strategy to address the future research needs and possibilities of research cooperation in fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing. This work included a foresight exercise, a mapping of nationally funded projects and mapping of research infrastructure in all three sectors.
In a work package dedicated to dissemination and capacity building COFASP investigated needs in training and mobility as well as carrying out four focused thematic studies – case studies – to highlight specific needs and discuss best approach to tackle these.

The partners organised a rotating chairmanship of a call secretariat and implemented three transnational calls leading to the funding of 16 research and innovation projects.

The results of all activities have been described in reports from each activity. In this document we wish to collate main findings across the activities and emphasise on key results. A major result is the Strategic Research Agenda that COFASP finalized towards the end that can give guidance for follow-up activities – either among COFASP partners themselves, to other actors in the research and innovation fields of fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing or the European Commission.

Transnational calls in COFASP

Preparation: Immediate Common Research Priorities
COFASP made three versions of the deliverable “Common research priorities” elaborating on common priorities. The final was built upon the two previous reports, providing an overview of the whole process in defining the three joint calls issued by COFASP. In particular, COFASP focused on identifying the national research priorities of all funding partners and on analysing potential common programme contents and joint calls compared to H2020 calls and other initiatives. A total of three reports on common priorities were generated prior to each of the three COFASP calls for applications.

For the first call a questionnaire among partners was used to identify the areas of common interests, gaps and possible duplications with other programmes. The results from the questionnaire were used to extract common priorities to the first COFASP call topics and for future programme activities.

Getting to the call texts
COFASP partners represent a diverse group of stakeholders with different priorities and needs that can be applied to the three COFASP pillars: fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing.
COFASP launched three calls during the period of 2014-2016. In preparation for the first call a systematic effort was applied to identify the areas of common interests, gaps and possible duplications. The results, based on a questionnaire, were used to extract common priorities to the first COFASP call topics and for future programme activities. The priorities in the first call are in line with the emphasis in ‘Marine fisheries science priorities: EFARO’s perspective’ and ‘Key topics for scientific support to the European Aquaculture strategy’. The first COFASP call was announced in February 2014.

In preparations of the second call the previously identified priorities were used along with priorities of related activities such as EFARO and Horizon 2020. The second call was announced in 2015. The third call was launched in March 2016 as a joint call with the Marine Biotechnology ERANET. The common priorities are based upon a dialogue between these two ERANETs. COFASP call topics are published in separate documents.

First call
For the first call a questionnaire among partners was used to identify the areas of common interests, gaps and possible duplications. The results from the questionnaire were used to extract common priorities to the first COFASP call topics and for future programme activities.

The first call was launched on 1 February 2014 and closed on 15 June 2014, with the thematic focus including all three COFASP sectors. The topics can be considered pillar specific apart from a topic on spatial planning (topic 2) which is cross-sectorial between fisheries and aquaculture. The other topics were: The ecosystem approach to fisheries management; Improved aquaculture through a) New and improved aquaculture systems, b) Feed and nutrition in aquaculture, c) Application of the improved capacity in genomics in aquaculture; Production chain. However, not all topics got funded.

Second call
Based on the topics and themes identified in the first call a list of topics was assembled and circulated for priority among partners. The feedback provided the basis for a funders meeting for developing a short list of topics for the second call for proposals of COFASP and to ensure avoiding overlap with the H2020 work programme. The funders agreed to have an overarching theme and developed the sector specific topics within this theme.

The second call was launched 15 February 2015 and closed on 17 June 2015. The theme for the second call was an overarching cross-sectorial topic, resource optimization, mapping and reduction of ecological footprint, environmental sustainability of aquaculture, fisheries and seafood processing and interaction with other production, with a scope of one or more sub-topics defined for each sectoral area of COFASP.

Third call - Joint call with ERANET Marine biotechnology
The third COFASP call was launched on 21 March 2016 and closed on 20 June 2016. The call was a joint effort with ERANET Marine Biotechnology (ERA-MBT). The focus of the call was on developing the biotechnology toolbox within COFASP themes. This focus is in harmony with one of the important strategic areas identified by JPI Oceans “Use of marine biological resources through development and application of biotechnology”. The topics include the ERA-MBT scope and the COFASP’s common priorities. The topics are in line with the previously identified call priorities and case studies which have a strong influence on the selected COFASP priorities.

The European Commission is strongly communicating the need to integrate RTDI in Europe, and a joint call between COFASP and ERA-MBT was an effort to proactively fulfilling this as a short term initiative. There is also a demand to secure continued activities related to what the ERANETs build and achieve beyond their project periods. Collaborating on a joint call have brought COFASP and ERA-MBT themes closer and contributed to a better alignment. This makes the networks better positioned to join forces in future activities within H2020 and other EU-initiatives, such as e. g. COFUND ERANETs.

Results from COFASP calls
In total funding agencies allocated 17.3 mio Euro and a total of 80 eligible proposals have been received in the three calls. 16 have been selected for funding. The first 5 projects have reached mid-term, whereas the rest are still in the first phase of the three years project duration.

Strategic Research Agenda

Towards Common Research Priorities
– Developing the Strategic Research Agenda

As described in the Strategic Research Agenda, COFASP has analysed the research and innovation needs in short, mid- and long term using a range of methodologies.

The start of the COFASP project has been the inventory of national research priorities based on which the first COFASP joint call was developed. Next to this very short term inventory a more profound analysis of research in Europe was implemented.

In order to address a specific set of issues, such as for example the sharing of research infrastructure, specific research priorities and mobility of research capacity within Europe, a series of activities and Case Studies have been implemented. During workshops with relevant stakeholders each sector was addressed.

In addition, an analysis of the most relevant research projects on fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing funded from 2003 up to 2013 at national and European level has been performed to identify the topics that would need of further research. To derive at a longer term perspective a foresight exercise has been conducted. This activity used a participatory foresight methodology building scenarios involving representatives from relevant stakeholder groups in the fisheries, aquaculture and food processing industry but also from societal organizations. To update the 2014 foresight results an additional revisit workshop was implemented in November 2016. During this workshop also the grand challenges we would be facing towards 2050 were identified.

At first sight it may appear that the different activities result in completely different sets of priorities and research issues. Yet all of the topics raised during all of the activities do fit closely in with one and another. Differences in specific priorities can be attributed to the more specific focus (topical, sectoral) of some of the activities, the time perspective chosen and the technological and funding perspective perceived.

The projects funded by COFASP are based on common research needs that partners found that needed immediate attention. The dedicated Case Studies added to this and provided a short to mid-term view of priorities. The foresight had a rather long term view and the identification of the grand challenges took a very long term perspective. Running along this time perspective there is also a perception of the technological level of operations and the way related research can and will be funded between private and public funds.

Where the Technology Readiness Level over time moves from lab research via simulations to real world application the application moves closer to market. The more competitive market the earlier it can be expected that industry will step in for technology development. Yet addressing societal challenges in first instance in the phase of concept development and proof of concept is usually the domain of more public funding.

Analysis of nationally funded projects
A database of relevant research projects funded by the EU member States and the European Commission in the years 2003-2013 was built, collating databases previously developed in the framework of other projects (e.g. MARI-FISH ERANET, AQUAMED), through input from partners and an online questionnaire to the project coordinators. Information has been disseminated through a WebGIS application available on the COFASP website ( The database was updated in 2016 adding the projects funded in 2014 and 2015 and contain nearly 3,000 projects. The analysis of the collected information allowed to generate a list of research topics that would need to be further investigated in the short-medium period.

Foresight Analysis study
The foresight study was implemented between September 2013 and June 2014 by the European Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Organization (EFARO) in collaboration with the COFASP partners and a large range of invited stakeholders. The aim of the study was to develop an agenda defining the research required in the medium term (15 years) to enable a sustainable exploitation and farming and retailing of aquatic resources. The results are presented in a separate brochure.

Case Studies
Four topics were selected for the planned COFASP Case Studies:
1. Regional similarities and differences in aquaculture
2. Coordination of EMFF implementation
3. Regionally-Integrated and Spatially-Explicit Fisheries and Ecosystem Management
4. Seafood processing – pan-EU challenges.

A range of stakeholders were invited to these workshops to provide knowledge and input. In particular it can be highlighted that:
1. Regional similarities and differences in aquaculture - managed to get a high industry representation from the Atlantic salmon and sea bass/sea bream industry to the meetings resulting in interesting discussion of challenges and potential solutions that are relevant in each region or seen as general research and innovation needs.
2. EMFF implementers were invited to discuss the possibilities of coordinating the national EMFF implementation and it was acknowledged that deeper and more efficient cooperation could significantly increase the quality of implementation. The group established very concrete actions for continuing the dialogue after the first workshop.
3. A group of experts discussed the challenge of integrating multiple objectives of different policies into fisheries management scenarios, and provided clear overview of the key challenges affecting spatial management of fishing activities to stakeholders and policymakers at regional and European level.
4. COFASP invited to a stakeholder conversation in connection with the Seafood EXPO in Brussels with the objective to identify the European seafood processing industry research needs.

For each case study a report was made and COFASP collated the main findings into a single COFASP Case Studies report “Perspectives for the Fisheries, Aquaculture, Seafood Processing in the EU – The COFASP Case Studies”.

Short to mid-term research priorities

The purpose of hosting Case Study workshops was to facilitate conversations between stakeholders on common research priorities. Four reports were generated from these workshops. Below is a short list of priorities presented from the Case Studies.

Fisheries case study
The case study in fisheries “Regionally-Integrated and Spatially-Explicit Fisheries and Ecosystem Management” (RISE-FEM) was held in 23-25 June 2015, Brussels, Belgium. The objective of the RISE-FEM Case Study was to link integrated fisheries and ecosystem management together with spatial planning.
Within the three main topics discussed as priorities was the emphasis on spatial management and mapping and evaluation of functional habitats:
Develop Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) and Management Effectiveness Evaluation for multiple-objective and multiple-sector spatial management schemes;
Improve knowledge on and evaluation of functional habitats;
Develop spatially-explicit end-to-end models with appropriate complexity for spatial Management Strategy Evaluation.

The spatial management, strategy, modelling, implementation, evaluation is an ongoing theme identified as a priority within the fisheries section. This was part of the COFASP first call topics and the second call (fisheries and trans-sectorial topics). No project related to this topic was supported in the first call, while two projects, PRIME TRADEOFFS and ECOAST, were funded in the second call. The habitat mapping was addressed in the first call also. Two projects, GOFORIT and DASTMAP, that have focus on functional habitat (evaluation model) were supported.

Aquaculture case study
Two workshops (and visits to farms) were organised for the case study in aquaculture. The objective of the aquaculture case study was to identify similarities and differences, that are limiting the growth of Mediterranean sea bass/ sea bream industry and Atlantic salmon industry, addressing biological life cycle issues, technical and technological issues, market and communication issues and trans-sectorial factors affecting aquaculture development.
Within the aquaculture case studies several common challenges were listed, including description of main research needs:
• Social acceptance and communication of aquaculture
• Biomass control
• New grow-out technologies
• Real-time monitoring of environment and biological indicators
• Tools to measure robustness and juvenile quality
• Selective breeding

Some of these issues have been addressed in previous COFASP calls, and two aquaculture projects were supported in the first call (MICROFeed on feed development and MicSTATech on water treatment technology). These topics above were not specifically targeted (or can be regarded as sub-targets) within the second COFASP call. However, four aquaculture projects (IMTA-EFFECT, RAS-ORGMAT, SUSHIFISH and MARINALGAE4aqua) were supported during the second call. The third call was more inclined towards marine biotechnology. Three projects under aquaculture were selected for funding (RobustBass on selective breeding, STURGEoNOMICS on genome-based approach for improvement in aquaculture and AquaCrispr on genetic improvements). These projects will start by end of 2016.

Seafood processing case study
The case study in seafood processing “European Seafood processing challenges – Stakeholder Conversation” was held in 23-24 April 2015, Brussels, Belgium in conjunction with Seafood EXPO. The objective was to identify the European seafood processing industry needs for research. The focus was on sustainability, logistics, optimisation of processes, markets and consumer aspects. A short list of industry needs was identified:

• Securing supply by maintaining stable supply, with increased yield, better utilization and valorisation
• New technology/techniques have to be developed to increase the efficiency and competitiveness
• Better documentation through the value chain can extend shelf-life contributing to product integrity
• Focus on the health effects of seafood consumption to inform the consumer
• Product development, such as better use of oil and proteins in the pelagic industry is important for sustainability
• Limiting environmental impact of the processing, avoiding post-harvest losses and minimizing food waste
• Focus on product- and market development for previously discarded species.
• Chilling and packaging technologies as well can extend shelf-life.

In the first COFASP call, the topic for seafood processing was very open. One out of two project within this pillar was supported (SAFEFISHDISH: main objective to improve the microbial and sensory quality and safety of fish from harvest to consumer). The second call topics in Seafood processing was also very wide in scope. However, only one project was submitted within the pillar and none was supported. In the third call, however, two projects were selected for funding. These two projects are CHITOWOUND: using biotech tools for implementing novel and improved methods in extracting valuable substances from waste and AntiFoul: using novel biotech tools to utilize compounds from red algae. Both projects will start by end of 2016.

Mid-term revision of blue growth and the blue economy

During 2016, nearing the half-way point of H2020 and moving into the final stage of the COFASP ERANET a reflection specifically on Blue Growth and the Blue Economy was implemented. In the H2020 work programmes 2014-2017, the research and development of Blue Growth has concentrated on new maritime technologies for exploration and exploitation of sea-based resources (food, energy, materials). For the period 2018-2020, the main need is to integrate Blue Growth into the Circular Bio-Based Society. Thus the COFASP partners found it relevant to explore:

Exploring resources
• Upscaling of seaweed production, development of efficient farming technologies to a higher TRL
• Exploration and development of sustainability concepts
• The use of “omics” in Fisheries and Aquaculture science

• Novel technology for efficient monitoring, data collection, -processing, and –analyses
• Multi-use of ocean space, such as the use of windmill parks and offshore production sites
• Further development of efficient and reliable aquaculture farming production systems with low environmental impact

• Development of management strategies and management strategy evaluation tools sensitive to marine ecosystem resilience and regime shifts based on Reversing the perspective
• Marine Governance related to societal acceptance of Blue Growth perspectives
• Citizen science
• Coupled social-ecological system modelling

Long-term research priorities

A series of workshops was held with relevant stakeholder groups to using foresight analysis and scenario building, and develop a Long Term vision on Research Priorities. Details of the exercise and methodology can be found in several reports on www.COFASP.EU.
Below is a summary overview of the identified priorities. It should be kept in mind that the foresight concentrated on the marine environment rather than on the wider aquatic environment.

Marine Science in General
Optimal use of the seas: what is the optimal sustainable use of our seas and oceans with increased possibilities of using available resources in novel ways and using novel ways to extract and use marine resources? This question has a bearing on the development of an overarching system of marine spatial planning (also see section on Governance).

Value of use of the seas: in order to strive for an optimal sustainable use of the seas it is important to be able to put a value to existing and potential future ecosystem goods and services. Related to this is the question of costing the impact of activities on the marine ecosystem and incorporate these costs into the production costs in the value chain. Together with non-economic values this analysis will provide a basis for a societal cost-benefit analysis of different activities, especially in a world with increased competition for marine resources, especially space. This in turn will provide important input into marine spatial planning.

Low impact products: a general challenge to all uses of the marine environment is to develop products and production techniques that not only reduce direct impact on the marine resources directly exploited, but are produced with the lowest possible impact on the marine ecosystem, including its associated carbon footprint.

Sustainable use strategies: combined with a strive for low impact products there is a need to devise holistic strategies at the level of Large Marine Ecosystems for sustainable production. This will include a definition of ecosystem and environmental boundaries, setting up strategies for marine resource use, prevention and mitigation measures.

This will require a methodology in which impacts of a multitude of activities can be determined at the appropriate ecosystem geographical and time scale. An example of such a methodology can be the modelling and risk assessment of disease and pathogen distribution in wild populations and aquaculture systems; develop prevention and treatment systems. Another example can be to devise a methodology that considers species adaptation to ecosystem change and the ecosystem impact considerations of the restoration of certain species.

Monitoring and Management: for the appropriate management of the ecosystem it will remain necessary to develop long term integrated management plans for resource use. Especially in the field of fisheries this will require models that can reliably predict the dynamics of ecosystems and activities undertaken in the ecosystem, including economic aspects (bio-economic modelling). In addition, it will require user-friendly monitoring programs or techniques that result in reliable assessments of exploited marine resources/populations which clearly assess the impact of (alternative) fishery management programs on sustainable use of shared resources. The development and use of technology to improve monitoring and surveillance will be required in addition to continued improvements in monitoring and data collection. Economic impacts of fisheries management operations should also be included in the analysis.

Adaptation strategies: the fisheries sector is confronted with a multitude of challenges that will require an adaptation of prior used (fishing) strategies. As result of ecosystem change, how can fishers adapt vessel types and equipment to make a fit with the new dynamic circumstances? In addition, how can fishing fleets respond to a societal call to develop low impact fishing methods, such as eco-friendly powered vessels, low impact fishing gears?

And, in the light of market demand, how can the entire harvest of vessels, including by-catch and discards, be appropriately managed and used?

Data use: in order to provide a basis for management of resources and the development of the industry’s management and fishing strategy it is necessary to develop technology and methodology that will allow effective and accepted obtaining and using fishery-independent data and commercial data from industry, especially in small- scale fisheries.

Recreational Fisheries: a major challenge is the potential and role of developing recreational fisheries and other recreational uses of the sea, e.g. tourism. How do these activities relate to other commercial uses of marine space and resources, and how does competition between alternative uses of resources develop? Also the potential effects of recreational fisheries on fish stocks should be explored.

Market demand: noting consumer demand and production costs across all modes of aquaculture production, a main challenge remains to be the species that can be cost effectively produced and meet market demand. In this there are several challenges being posed to the sector; which species and production techniques can serve a high-value novel niche market? In case of multiple potential aquaculture species, how could a diversified production scheme look like? And how can aquaculture producers operate in a market characterized by multiple high-value products?

Organic aquaculture: related to market demand is the special case of organic aquaculture. Main questions related to this issue centre on developing the system, using the potentials for herbivore species, sources of feed, plant aquaculture, bivalves (shellfish). The main challenge is to lower the production costs relative to conventional methods.

Technology development: there is a continued demand for improved recirculation facilities and research into multi- trophic aquaculture/agriculture/hydroponics (i.e. both directions: sea-land and land-sea) and off-shore Multi Trophic Aquaculture. In order to devise these systems a better understanding of the potential of Multi Trophic Aquaculture systems is required. In addition, the potential health issues of IMTA components should be addressed as well as the identification of potential species, sources of feed, water treatment technology and increases in water/feed efficiency. New opportunities are foreseen in the symbiosis of aquaculture and other industrial sectors, promoting a circulation economy.

Species enhancement: as for the potential use and enhancement of species, starting point has to be addressing the issue of aquatic animal health and welfare. In addition, research into GM (genetically modified) feed use and fish genetic strains with low environmental risk will be addressed. Species adaptation to ecosystem change will have to be taken into account. Some aspects can be addressed through coordinated breeding programmes.

Seafood Processing
Towards more flexible production units: with a production sector with a more diverse (and more seasonal) production and an European market characterised by multiple market segments (high-value (no-bulk) products, next to bulk ingredients market) there will be a strive away from single-species production plants towards more small- scale and multi-purpose processing units. Research into developing these small-scale and multi-purpose processing units is required.

Maximise processing efficiency: there is an increased strive to fully use all of the harvested fish produce, be it from aquaculture or wild capture fisheries. On the one hand this implies maximisation of the filet yield. But, on the other hand, it also entails optimising the use for fish meal and oil coming from the remains from fish processing (from trimmings) and the use of all co-products for high value products for feed, food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

New products and new production technologies: in addition to optimising the use of the fish harvest there is also the need to develop production technologies for new resources such as seaweed and algae such as the production of biodegradable packaging (from seaweed). In addition, there is a need to overall reduce waste and environmental impacts in processing.

Value Chain
Increased sustainable efficiency: a generic challenge to the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors lies in a search to increase efficiency of vessels and gears, of aquaculture production (e.g. feed conversion ratio, time to slaughter) and in seafood processing which at the same time reduces impact on the ecosystem and makes the most efficient use of harvested resources. The entire value chain will have to adapt to this principle of ‘more with less’, especially new technology/techniques in the processing sector will have to be developed to adjust to changes in raw materials (e.g. species, size).

Setting standards: a major concern is the development of methods to ensure that seafood products meet appropriate standards for health and safety. This includes both setting of health and safety standards as well as devising systems such as labelling, to communicate produce attributes. This will include the identification of threats to food safety along the supply chain, compared to thresholds for safe human consumption, and to develop programme/standards to prevent threats from entering the supply chain.

Information in the value chain: communication of attributes of produce along the value chain across the individual producers towards the final consumer is very important. One of the issues that need to be addressed is: how can labelling and standardization be organized in the value chain towards a multitude of consumer groups and markets? Steps towards these can be taken by looking into best practice for certification and labelling and into the development of EIDs (Electronic Identification Documents) providing relevant information along the value chain operators and final consumers.

Control: a main issue is the establishment, in a dynamic world and a permanently changing ecosystem, of a framework for management to ensure resource use (including pollution) to stay within identified and agreed upon limits. This will include the question of which incentives could be used to ensure compliance of the industry and which technology could be further developed to support this (e.g. effort controls, VMS, CCTV).

License to produce: increasingly producers need to acquire a license to produce: a public consent to the industry to exploit the marine environment. Obtaining this license to produce pertains on the one hand the provisioning of (science based) information on primary production and across all steps in the production chain but, on the other hand, it would require insights in the public attitudes towards marine production and communication between producers, consumers and citizens.

Participation: with a growing complexity of the management challenge at Europe’s seas and oceans there is an increased need for Marine Spatial Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation of the use of marine resources. The effective implementation of this calls for the development of a platform for stakeholders to increase participation/ input in decision-making and evaluation processes.

Organization of Research and Funding
The financing and organisation of research will over time depend on the relative priority given to (marine) research, the availability of funding from either public or private sources and the level at which science will be organised.

Research enablers

In order to facilitate implementation of the research priorities a number of ‘enablers’ have been identified: actions that could be undertaken to stimulate more effective and efficient implementation of the identified research priorities.

Sharing infrastructure
“Sharing research infrastructures” is a long-expressed wish, potentially appreciated both by researchers who can access to facilities tailored to their needs but not always existing in their own country, by operators who can optimize the use of their resources and exchange good practices for their design, technology and operation, and by policy makers who can vision new needs at Regional/European scale(s) and optimize new investments.

For COFASP, three types of infrastructures are concerned, which each requires a specific investigation as regard their networking relevance and opportunities:
o Regional vessels contributing to fisheries issues,
o Experimental facilities for aquaculture research,
o R/D facilities for seafood processing research and innovation,

Operators of these facilities in Europe were questioned on the different forms of collaboration such as :
o “Shared use of research infrastructures, e.g. through transnational access”,
o “Common vision on new needs, optimisation of new investments”,
o “Pooling skills for operation & maintenance”,
o “Appropriation of new innovative technologies”.

78 operators kindly accepted to return their opinions and recommendations while bringing updated information on their facilities and on their participation in existing networks. The work builds upon previous work by EurOcean on the Marine Research Infrastructures database: as well as ESFRI and 13 projects including their websites.

Research Vessels (RV) contributing to fisheries issues:
62 RV contribute to fisheries issues in Europe, of which about 38 appear to be firstly designed and mostly used for fisheries research and 24 are more multi-purpose by design but including capabilities and use for fisheries research. Activities of these RV include cruises directly focused on commercial species stocks assessment, cruises to test new technologies (trawls, echo sounders), or indirectly on ocean observation and sampling for the understanding and the modelling of living resources in their common marine ecosystem. Average days at sea for fisheries research is 114 days per RV and per year (based on 49 RV which have indicated their figures), with a minimum of ~ 15 and a maximum of ~ 280, reflecting the diversity of specialisation and/or use of such RV.
Shared use of RV ranks 1 in the priority, although not easy to implement due to national constraints for the ship time programming. Main recommendation is to develop regional case studies of RV multi-annual programming addressing both scientific, national procedures and logistic issues, including fisheries and biology monitoring (in line with some of the MSFD descriptors), with concerns for the spatial coverage of shared sea basins and for the timing when seasonal depending.
We note that regionalisation of surveys and combining fish stock monitoring activities with MSFD descriptors monitoring were possible is both part of the recasted DCF proposal, expected to be operational by 2017, and currently under an EU legislative process aiming at implementation by 2017 and the general focus on regionalisation also of the CFP.

Experimental facilities for aquaculture research:
About 71 stand-alone research facilities are detected operating in Europe by 59 operators (the mapping considering “marine or so” aquaculture only, not aquatic “pure” freshwater one), 85% from the public sector and 15% from the private one. Facilities are mostly land-based tanks, sea-based cages and associated labs for necessary analysis, together able to address new stakes or trends that need a strong support from the research sector:
o New species , herbivore species, plant aquaculture
o To improve recirculation systems, water treatment technology,
o To develop multi-trophic aquaculture,
o Animal health and welfare, adaptation to environmental change, organic aquaculture,

Shared use of research infrastructures through transnational access, and appropriation of new innovative technologies ranks 1 ex aequo in the priorities. Demonstrations of transnational access within the frame of Aquaexcel proved to be popular, it is worth and expected to continue (and to increase in budget as much as possible) that fit for purpose access, with also a special attention for the regional scale where local industrials can take advantage of such access to public research centres: a specific regional access formula could be also designed, oriented to SMEs and Industrials. In complement, it is worth to propose technical workshops focused on some new innovative technologies when their appropriation by everyone is an issue.

R/D facilities for seafood processing research and innovation:
Seafood processing industry faces: i. an increasing need of new products, ii. a shared concern to maximise the use of the marine biomass coming from fisheries (where a lot of stocks are at risk), from aquaculture and also from resources such as seaweed and micro-algae, and iii. an increasing concern from consumers for healthy products and for their traceability.
R/D facilities are in support of these objectives, involving a wide range of technics:
o Hydrolysis, extraction, concentration, filtration, drying, grinding, mixing, ...
o Forming, embossing, smoking, pasteurisation, sterilization, ...
o Vacuum packing, in containers, modified atmosphere, packaging process, ...
o Smoking, preparation, catering, ready meals, fresh, frozen, pasteurised ...
o Ingredients, flavours, food products, organoleptic analysis, ...
o Microbiology analysis, chemistry analysis, test of sanitary products or vaccines, hygiene of production lines, ...

45 operators of research facilities for seafood processing were detected, 80% from the public sector and 20% from the private one. Yet country repartition of such research facilities in Europe looks very uneven, 13 countries having no such facilities apparently.
Common vision on new needs and appropriation of new innovative technologies ranks 1 ex aequo in the priorities. We recommend to concentrate at first the common vision on research equipment/facilities that can foster the raw biomass maximising use, which is high in the agenda of both public and private stakeholders, through open forum activities with R/D operators and end-users. And to complement with technical workshops to foster the adoption of new production technologies that such orientation could generate.

Fishery, aquaculture, and seafood processing are sectors needing multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral skills, and related curricula, while mobility is playing a fundamental role in this approach, not only with reference to the opportunities offered to study/be trained abroad but also in relation to cross-sectoral job mobility. Mobility as part of Human Capacity Building (HCB) involves in the FASP a very large number of different expertise and qualifications, including scientific and technical personnel from both public and private institutions as well as policy managers, legal officers and employees from the private sector (fishermen, aquaculture and seafood processing operators, etc.).

In the short term, HCB needs can be addressed and fostered in a coordinated way by aligning current national mobility programmes (e.g. within bilateral agreements), provided that a joint effort by funding and research institutions is made for supporting scientific and technical staff in submitting proposals that are in line with identified research priorities. In this framework, dedicated Staff Exchange Schemes shall be put in place, even at Institutional level. At different levels of implementation, mobility can be driven by EU, and in particular H2020 programmes and initiatives, through the funding of actions/projects at EU level most often involving partnerships from many countries and sectors.

Schematically, possible mobility tools by target staff in the fisheries, aquaculture and sea food processing, include:
• Apprentices: “European framework for mobility of apprentices: developing European Citizenship and skills through youth integration in the labour market”
• University students (undergraduates) and trainees (via internships) -> Erasmus+ (Student mobility and traineeships), European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) “Blue Careers in Europe” action;
• PhD students : Horizon2020 Marie Sklodowska- Curie Actions (MSCA): Innovative Training Networks (ITN), RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange), COFUND;
• Post-Docs -> Horizon2020 MSCA: Innovative Training Networks (ITN), RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange), COFUND, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) “Blue Careers in Europe” action;
• Junior Researchers: Horizon2020 MSCA-RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange), COST Action;
• Senior Researchers: Horizon2020 MSCA-RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange), COST Action;
• Technicians (Research Institutions) : Horizon2020 MSCA-RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange), European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) “Blue Careers in Europe” action;
• Technicians (Private sector, including fishermen aquaculture employees, seafood services, packaging, fish utilization etc.) -> Horizon2020 MSCA-RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange) in cooperation with academic/research institutions, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) “Blue Careers in Europe” action;
• Policy makers, regulations enforcement, etc.: Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliances, Erasmus+, Sector Skills Alliances, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) “Blue Careers in Europe” action.

Other possible tools are related to training programmes organised by national and international Research institutions in the framework of their planned activities. These include workshops and courses in support of EU marine policies, organized for instance by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) or by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (FAO-GFCM) or in the framework of bilateral and regional programmes.

In HCB schemes, priority should be given to e-learning and other similar innovative approaches that foster this mind-set. Adults engaging in Lifelong Learning are active learners committed with continued professional development and seek access to appropriate resources, engagement with fellow learners and more expert practitioners. Virtual education should develop a system of harmonized credits (ECTS) similar as far as possible to what exists in conventional education so that students’ achievements are reflected in their CVs and recognized by educational institutions. This might not be applicable to some informal learning tools though.

With particular reference to the COFASP sectors, e-learning should envisage both subject-specific training, and non-subject skills such as languages, IT literacy, environmental and regulation issues, soft skills (time management tools, communication, problem solving, entrepreneurship, etc.), among others. Given the gap detected between the industry’s necessities and what the traditional education system offers, an e-learning program should focus on a closer collaboration with the industry, by for example inviting specialists working in the FASP fields to design the contents, be co-lecturers on specific topics, instructors with practical sessions, mentors, appraisers and others alike to provide a practical view apart from the theoretical one.

The conducted study of strategic documents, consultations within the COFASP consortium partners as well as with external key stakeholders allow to list the following most commonly mentioned and most urgent HCB areas of common interest:

• Training in ecosystem assessment, monitoring and management;
• Training in development and use of innovative technologies to improve fisheries monitoring, surveillance and data collection;
• Training in assessing of impact of different fishing gear on protected species, including marine mammals (also in order to reduce by-catch);
• Training in practical application of the ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

• Training in application of advanced warning systems in aquaculture;
• Training in planning, business management and public communications in aquaculture;
• Training in organic aquaculture with the main challenge of lowering production costs relative to conventional methods;
• Training in multi-trophic aquaculture;
• Training in developing methods to (remotely and automatically) manage diseases affecting aquaculture; o Training in risk assessment /
• management and in fundamentals of aquaculture insurance;
• Training in spatial planning and allocated zones for aquaculture (incl. geographic information system tools for zoning and for the establishment of Allocated Zones for Aquaculture).

Seafood Processing
• Training in traceability of produce via certification and in labelling as a source of information to guarantee sustainability of production and safety for consumption;
• Training in production technologies of new resources such as seaweed and algae, as well as in usage of biodegradable packaging (from seaweed).

Interdisciplinary needs
• Training in discard management as a common theme for fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing (incl. alternative feeds);
• Training in spatial plans to optimize bio-economy components of coastal fisheries and aquaculture.

Moving forward

COFASP partners have continuously discussed possible ways of collaborating beyond the COFASP CSA period. This lead to an analysis of the current landscape coordination of common research priorities and funding of research in Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Processing (FASP).

The two existing FP7 ERANETs (COFASP and Marine Biotechnology ERANET: ERA-MBT) are focused on joint calls for the utilization of marine living resources and the technologies around them. They also do other joint activities or addressing specific themes such as foresight analysis, human capacity building or research infrastructure. Both ERANETs come to an end in 2017, thus COFASP partners have found it most realistic to continue in a COFUND instrument and this path has been pursued together with ERA-MBT and JPI Oceans. It has resulted in a common proposal to the EC for including a COFUND action in H2020 for the Work Programme 2018-2020.

The proposed scope of the COFUND is broader than the COFASP ERANET. It includes aquatic resources from both marine and freshwater systems and seeks to: engage relevant funding agencies in the aquatic field to implement a co-funded call focusing on Blue Knowledge and technological developments to respond to needs and gaps for R&I, creating critical mass along the value chains from biomass to products and markets. Innovative, sustainable and climate-friendly utilisation of aquatic biomass at different trophic levels will be explored, as well as sustainable harvesting, minimizing of waste and novel aquaculture production systems targeting a range of markets. Biotechnology makes it possible to target new genetic resources and biomolecules, and utilise close to 100 % of the available biomass in new biorefineries. Additional activities including additional calls will be set up under the COFUND to strengthen the impact through training and mobility for filling the skills gaps, networking, foresight/case and pilot studies, and use of European and national infrastructures thereby enhancing the leveraging effect of the EU investments in the partnership.

The ERANET COFUND will address gaps and needs such as: creating a circular economy by developing innovative uses of underutilised and waste material; using biotechnology and ICT to enable development of smart, efficient, traceable food systems and create synergies between aquaculture and fisheries (genetic assessment); unlock the potential of microbiomes in fisheries, aquaculture, food processing and biotechnology; apply the latest developments in ICT (internet of things, machine learning, big data) to the Blue Bioeconomy; creating predictive tools to improve the identification and targeting of biological “hot-spots” in the oceans (omics based technologies); explore synergies with land-based production in areas such as food and feed processing, biorefining, bioenergy, biomaterials, chemicals and nutrients and include waste streams from aquatic to terrestrial value chains; improving aquaculture by using biotechnology to create innovative feeds, DNA sequencing, new species and stock baselines.

The partners are thus ambitious in the additional activities besides calls and have expressed the interest to continue having a close collaboration until a new formal structure hopefully is established. Thus it is the intention to continue with a regular Partner Update phone meeting that builds on the positive experience of having monthly Steering Group phone meetings.

The COFASP partnership is primarily a group of funders that can benefit from working closely together with SCAR-Fish, JPI Oceans and perhaps broaden the collaboration with other research programmes in the Member States. The priorities as defined in the COFASP foresight exercise are still valid in this landscape.

Working closely with SCAR-Fish, the more short term and policy driven priorities can be shared continuously and the possibilities to collaboratively develop research priorities under for example the EU H2020 programme will be greatly enhanced. With JPI Oceans the more long-term and rather more fundamental marine and maritime topics could be shared. Also it is noted that already a number of topics are being addressed by individual Member States. It can be explored whether these individual research programmes can be expanded, for example to the regional level, and cooperation can be stimulated by additional coordination activities e.g. through a COFUND activity or by formulating joint calls around these topics.
Potential Impact:
A four year project can have some immediate results of impacting other activities but most likely the impact will show later, and thus can only be our best bet for expected impact.
The objective of the FP7 ERANET scheme was to provide support to coordinate national/regional activities by developing joint calls for trans-national proposals. This has certainly been achieved in the COFASP ERANET through the three joint calls and many side activities for putting focus on the research needs in the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood processing sectors. There are specific outputs that have been taken up, and there are the wider impacts from the stakeholder involvement in the activities that has provided a forum for networking across groups – both within the COFASP partnership and with and within the external stakeholders.
Thus, as mentioned in the “ERA-LEARN 2020 Framework of impact assessment of P2P networks”, the P2P networks have a “chain of impact” that includes the network’s impact on its members, the members’ impacts on their local environments, and the members’ combined impact on their broader environment. As described below, it has been clear from our Final Conference, that impact has been achieved, and more can be expected – both in knowledge increase and sharing at research level; in coordination and alignment of funding efforts; policy development and for developing the industries – thus the society at large.

Impact of COPASP calls on research and innovation funding
The concept of cofounding in COFASP showcases the impact that such research and innovation funding can have across borders. As the core of the existence of the COFASP efforts lie in the 2 million EURO grant from the European Commission, the COFASP partners pulled off in the first two calls a budget of 11.5 million EURO (Return on Investment with a factor of 5.75) and a third call with 5.8 million. If we assign half of the joint call with the ERA-MBT as the COFASP contribution, then the research and innovation efforts accumulate to 14.4 million EURO (return on investment with a factor of 7.2). Thus the COFASP calls enabled valuables that were locked in domestic budgets to come together and join efforts through the concept of cofounding to solve the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Processing challenges European countries and nations have to deal with.

Impact at research level
As COFASP has funded 16 projects, there is a direct impact at project level. Partnerships among scientists have been created. It was a requirement that each project should include at least three countries. The researchers participating in some of these projects discussed this at our project dissemination day alongside the final conference in December 2016. They recognise that such projects can take advantage of the diversity of competences across partners as this is recognized to boost research.
The researchers find it positive that the partnerships and projects are smaller than in the H2020 – the research can be more focused and the coordinator can concentrate on the scientific issue rather than being a project manager. However, the researchers found, that it can both be a challenge and an opportunity that the partners have to be found among the funding countries. It provided limitations in COFASP as not all of the COFASP countries participated in the calls, but on a positive note it fostered new collaborations. In general the smaller and less complex projects present an opportunity to test new partnerships. Also, in the application phase, it is appreciated that it is simpler than the H2020 applications and thus require no external expertise to write the applications.
They found it very beneficial that some topics allow for research projects aiming at getting new understanding, and not only on research targeted for implementing policy or solve specific product problems for the industry.
An advantage of the COFASP ERANET has been the direct involvement of the European Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Organisations (EFARO) and International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), thus knowledge of the COFASP activities – and implementation of some of the activities has been carried out jointly. The tight connection has led to researchers also proposing new ways of collaborating between researchers in international networks and funders. As a concrete idea it was proposed to have an ERANET COFUND in the FASP area working together with ICES. The ERANET represents the funders and ICES represents the researchers. It would be interesting to run ERANET projects on the ICES collaborative platform, as working groups: an ERANET project would foster collaborative efforts in a larger partnership and increase its impact.

Impact at national level – funding agencies
Funding agencies that participated in the COFASP partnership found that the additional activities in the ERANET has been important contributions to align for calls as it otherwise can be very difficult to get aligned among funders from different member states.
The funding agencies find using national programs for cross-border research is relevant in order to cover cross-border challenges. There can be synergies – both in capacities and using facilities, thus increasing the use of national infrastructures and improved research quality.
The ERANET has had immediate impact on the funders participating in the networking and additional activities, as they contribute to the understanding of challenges and strategies in research and innovation of other countries.
The Case Study on coordination in EMFF implementation have had direct impact on implementers that are now aware of the potential for coordination and discussing this in a focused forum.
Some countries find it difficult to dedicate money for international projects altogether, but are interested in further collaboration as discussed in a dedicated workshop on EMFF/ERDF/structural funds the funders are considering further coordination and alignment of money allocated for research and innovation through these instruments.
It is thus a direct impact, that the funding agencies that have participated in COFASP have found the ERANET to be a valuable collaborative instrument, and would like to continue working together in the future, and are thus very supportive of continuing e.g. in a COFUND.

Policy and long-term Impact
Besides the very concrete immediate impacts described above, it is also expected that the findings from the various activities (foresight, case studies) and described in The Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda will be used at national level in the discussion of future research priorities. This would contribute to the alignment of research agendas among the member states and make it easier to agree on common priorities for future joint activities and calls. The Geodatabase, that is providing an overview of research projects funded at national and EU level since 2003 can assist in analysis of previous efforts. This has provided valuable for COFASP, but has also served as input to SCAR-FISH and others such as SCAR Food systems has shown interest in using the database. COFASP partners will ensure that the database is available in the coming years.

Throughout the duration of the COFASP ERANET, the partnership has been focused on interacting with policy groups at European level. Thus COFASP has been active in providing SCAR-FISH with input based on COFASP activities. This has contributed to some of the discussions on research priorities and highlighted issues that could potentially be addressed through other types of activities, e.g. tenders, new COFUND actions or be taken up by other stakeholders.
As SCAR initiated a new foresight exercise in this period, COFASP contributed and thus directly impacted the development of the foresight scope and the outcome.

COFASP has interacted with EC and e.g. ICES and European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform (EATiP) for strengthening the international research and innovation cooperation around Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Processing in the Atlantic region as well as the ASEAN region. This has included initial mapping of EU US/Canada collaborations with a focus on aquaculture research. The results was further elaborated on by ICES and brought into the AORAC inventory of existing cooperation between partners. COFPAS also participation in the bilateral dialogue with Brazil in a meeting to operationalise the RIO event recommendations and in meetings exploring European interests in collaboration on aquaculture research with China/ASEAN countries, which provided input to a H2020 call on Reinforcing international cooperation on sustainable aquaculture production with countries from South-East Asia.

Also, COFASP has interacted with other P2P initiatives such as JPI Oceans and ERA-MBT, and COFASP has been actively participating in several PLATFORM and PLATFORM2 meetings to share knowledge with other European Research Area Networks (ERANETs), new ERANET actions (COFUND) and JPIs from FP6, FP7 and Horizon2020 in the area of the Knowledge Based Bioeconomy (KBBE). This has led to the development of a proposal for a new COFUND with a broader scope than the COFASP ERANET has had. The proposal was send to the EC jointly with JPI Oceans and ERA-MBT. If successful –this will have long-term impacting as a new instrument will be the basis for the further development of calls and alignment activities.

In recognition of the positive impact of joint calls and alignment of research priorities the researchers funded have noted that they would appreciate a longer–term perspective on programming and mechanisms to ensure funding to research teams on the priorities identified. If this message is picked up in consultations on national research priorities, then it will hopefully be easier in the future to get Member States to participate in P2P instruments.

Industry and long-term Impact
The interaction with industry stakeholders throughout the process has increased the awareness of COFASP products among industry stakeholders. Concrete evidence can be hard to capture, however in an analysis of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda currently undertaken in EATiP, the COFASP findings are considered.

Several of the 16 projects funded in the COFASP joint calls have potential for positive impact on the industry either through better management, efficient resource use or new products. However, until now only the five projects funded in the first call has reached mid-term (ultimo 2016), and thus it is at present not possible to provide concrete evidence of impact. However, impact is expected and the COFASP partners have found it relevant to make a workshop to present findings of these in the coming years.
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