The biological basis for culture of sea urchins has been established but the developing industry is now meeting particular constraints. These are: The lack of DIETS, which improve roe colour, while maintaining the other quantity and consistency parameters demanded by the market (flavour, texture, quantity). The lack of GROW-OUT TECHNOLOGY to reduce time to market. The lack of HARVEST PROTOCOLS positively influencing shelf-life and product quality.
This proposal addresses these constraints by:
- Uniting the leading SME's in sea urchin culture in Europe with experienced researchers who are best able to assist them.
- Focusing on the two most commonly fished, farmed and consumed sea urchin species in Europe.
- Investigating roe colour, which is a critical factor in the commercial product; poor or variable gonad colour at point of sale has a detrimental effect on the value in all species. The project will investigate the pigment (carotenoid) content of sea urchin roes to facilitate the design of sea urchin diets containing pigments from natural sources (eg microalgae). The diets will be species specific and improve roe content and colour.
- Innovations in grow-out technology; the culture systems proposed in this research are all integrated, linking se a urchin culture to that of other species with environmental and economic advantage.
- Developing protocols for microbial food safety will further enhance the competitiveness and market compliance of the product.
While helping fulfil the aims of the 'Strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture' this research will also help relieve the pressure on the remaining, vulnerable wild urchin populations. The research will have a positive impact on other sectors; e.g. seafood retailers, anima l-food manufacturers, food processing and transport sectors, and will be of socio-economic benefit to rural maritime communities dependent on aquaculture.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call
Funding SchemeCooperative - SMEs-Co-operative research contracts
Bantrys, County Cork