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High-Performance Standardised System for Mass Production of Premium Freshwater Fish

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SilGen (High-Performance Standardised System for Mass Production of Premium Freshwater Fish)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-04-30

There is a large and constantly growing consumer demand for fish in the EU and worldwide, yet natural waters are on the edge of overfishing and capture fisheries cannot satisfy market need. Aquaculture production is the only way to go, but EU is characterised by a fragmented approach and is thus not able to compete well with global competitors, covering more than half of its consumption from imports.
SilGen offers a complete system of highly efficient aquaculture for mass production of premium quality fish that is guaranteed free of contaminants. The technology is highly sustainable, can be operated under any geographical and climatic conditions, and offers 200% productivity vs traditional methods.
SilGen builds on the novel opportunity offered by the comprehensive package of a newly domesticated predatory species of the native European catfish, scientifically formulated feed, and an elaborate production technology that has been perfected over a decade, now ready for deployment. However, marketing a complex novel package is a bold, disruptive step, translating to risk for initial adopters. Therefore demonstrator farms will be piloted, establishing technology reference, market replication, and commercial bridgehead position.
The real-life piloting will feature tech standardisation, operational protocols for different environmental conditions, business management, advanced feed formulation and species optimisation, as well as marketing and commercial preparatory actions.
SilGen is envisaged to be commercialised under a franchise brand, ensuring investment-light fast growth and strong scalability, possibly to be executed by a joint venture of consortium members in ‘SilGen International’. Beyond the economic gains and global perspective, the transformative technology has the power to resolve structural limits of the European fish supply sector and drive consumer habits towards high quality, healthy, local produce, alleviating EU reliance on imports and environmental footprint.
Despite the direct and indirect negative impacts of the concurrent COVID situation the project has made good progress during the 1st period.
The main activities in the first year focused on the standardisation of the different technologies. In the end, the consortium has managed to standardise 4 technologies: i) intensive method, ii) semi-intensive earthen pond, iii) semi intensive cages, and iv) tank-by-pond hybrid method. This was a major milestone in the development, as these technologies give the basis of the SilGen project. In addition to the standardisation, we also started to develop the quality assurance system for these technologies which will be finalised in the first half of the 2nd period.
The second main result in the first period was the start of the piloting. Although the piloting started with some delay than originally planned due to the travel restrictions caused by COVID (difficulty in transporting sperm and egg), the consortium has managed to start the feed piloting on time and the brood piloting with some delay. By the end of the 2nd year we will have piloting results for 4 different breeds and 3 different feeds tested on all 4 technologies, which will validate the development results.
In parallel with these activities, we have managed to complete a full lifecycle impact assessment for the technology and calculated the corresponding environmental footprint. The results convincingly showed that SilGen technology has notable advantages over other aquacultures and other animal production technologies. Although there is always a trade-off depending on the location and environmental conditions of the production site, the adaptability of SilGen enables optimising the setup according to each location.
Significant progress was made with the non-technical tasks. We have reviewed the IPR environment and derived a comprehensive strategy on how to protect the results. We have started preparation of our franchise-type business strategy which now includes thorough revision of the brand strategy and the development of a product portfolio. We had to readjust our communication and marketing strategy to be in line with the updated business strategy and to adapt to the COVID situation.
By the end of the project the SilGen consortium will set up 4 aquaculture demonstrators in different environments to showcase performance indicators: superior production, economics, environmental impact, risks, jobs, commercial success. The demonstrators include the intensive (RAS) method, the two most effective semi-intensive methods (earthen pond and cages) and also a novel hybrid method (tank-by-pond) for the practice.
We will also complete the brood stock enhancement via genetic selection and will be progressed for unique, top grade standards. The feed will also be optimised to the standardised technologies, species, and environments. In addition, we will define and create a product portfolio so the high quality and standardised catfish can be sold to consumers in various forms, satisfying the demand and maximising profits. To prepare commercialisation we will complete the SilGen business development to determine operational and business management standards; the brand will be devised and introduced as the new industry benchmark.
Silgen project will have a much wider impact as well to answer societal issues such as overfishing and healthy eating habits. Overfishing is a non-sustainable use of the ocean because we are removing the fish at a much greater rate than they can reproduce. At the same time, demand for fish is constantly increasing, aggravating the problem of overfishing to eventually catastrophic dimensions, unless suitable replacement technology for fish supply is introduced to the market such as SilGen. Furthermore, the quality of marine fish is greatly affected by environmental pollution, increasing year on year. SilGen System 100% guarantees fish quality as it uses fully controlled environment, taking into consideration the wellbeing of the fish. It offers traceable and healthy fish products so safe that even pregnant women and small children can eat it. SilGen can effectively contribute to ensuring food security and nutrition for all.
Sous Vide SilGen wels