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Innovative stunning technology based on a natural anesthetizing agent in ice to improve animal welfare and extend shelf-life of farmed fish

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ICE2LAST (Innovative stunning technology based on a natural anesthetizing agent in ice to improve animal welfare and extend shelf-life of farmed fish)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2016-12-31

ICE2LAST is a range of products aimed to set up the European aquaculture and fishing as a model of a sustainable sector, which minimises animal suffering, reduces food waste and enhances food safety and quality.
In collaboration with experienced researchers, we have developed two main products (with a well-defined methodology of use): a solution to speed up the stunning/sedation phase of farmed fish before slaughter, which results in a longer shelf-life and better flesh quality, and a solution to preserve fish longer, by limiting the growth of microorganisms that lead to fish spoilage.
Both solutions are based on the activity of natural substances, which are included into crush ice. This way, its use does not involve any change in the working procedure currently undertaken by fishermen and fish farmers.
The funding received by the European Commission allowed us to identify the weaknesses and gaps in the first approach, as well as to design the tasks to be undertaken before reaching the market.
During the technical assessment, we have carefully design the experiments that will be required to optimize composition and working conditions of ICE2LAST. An evaluation of the organoleptic properties of the fish will be also carried out. The consumers’ acceptance is a crucial aspect in ICE2LAST commercialization.
We have identified the main European markets and established a timeline for entering and approaching the different markets, depending of its proximity and the leading fish species. ICE2LAST will be launched to market by 2020 and thanks to this new product we expect to employ 18 more people in Spain and overseas.
Main outcomes from the Phase I execution are summarized below:
Technical feasibility study
- The optimal dose and working conditions will be assessed during the Phase II execution, by working in collaboration with experienced researchers. They will be in charge of carrying out all the predefined experiments.
- Among all the analysis that will be made, we will pay special attention in the sensorial analysis (made by independent fish taster) to assure the fully consumer acceptance.
Commercial feasibility study
- ICE2LAST is fully integrated in the current procedures: it does not require modifying the fish slaughter and preserving processes. This will prompt the acceptability by fishermen, fish farmers and fish retailers.
- It is highly necessary to devote efforts in the post-market stage, by including a monitoring procedure. Cubiplaya personnel will follow up how ICE2LAST is being implemented both by ice manufacturers and by fishermen and fish farmers.
- Four commercialization stages have been defined. Firstly, south-Mediterranean countries will be targeted. While ICE2LAST consolidates in these markets, other important markets will be approached, mainly south-eastern countries.
Financial feasibility study
- We have estimated that, after 5 years of commercialisation, ICE2LAST will report a turnover of 4.8 M€, with a total investment (own resources + Ph I + Ph II) of around 1.2 M€.
- We expect to create 3 jobs during Phase II execution and another 15 extra jobs during the 5 years after the end of the project.
EU is expected to increase its fish food domestic production to address the low rate of self-sufficiency in fish consumption (<45%), particularly through aquaculture promotion. More than 320,000 people are directly or indirectly employed by the European fishing industry, and SME are predominant. Women’s employment in aquaculture and fish processing reaches 27 and 53%, respectively. With projections of a 4% annual growth in this sector, ICE2LAST will be contributing to move toward a sustainable aquaculture, an industry that has the potential of strengthening the economy of coastal areas.
The minimisation of animal suffering, extension of fish shelf-life and fish quality and enhancement of food safety, are some of the foundations of the sustainable fish sector. By using natural based substances, the range of products IC2LAST has the potential to help fisheries and aquaculture firms in their way to increase their competitiveness.