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SubCage Report Summary

Project ID: 712119

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SubCage (Submersible Tension Leg Fish Cage for Mariculture in Unsheltered and Offshore Areas)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food-producing sector in the world and is an increasingly important contributor to global food supply, food security and economic growth. The growing demand for seafood has resulted in the depletion of natural fisheries and it is estimated that 62% of seafood will come from aquaculture by 2030.
There is more of a growing need for protein from fish food mainly due to the large increase in world
population, which generates the need for increased marine fish farming aquaculture and trends show that an increase of more than 100% of marine fish production is to be expected by 2030 in EU. Traditional inshore and sheltered areas are already being overpopulated with aquaculture, tourism, harbors and other facilities, which poses great environmental issues and for this reasons aquaculture has been pushed offshore and in unsheltered areas.
Major challenges in the development of aquaculture include: the lack of space and Saturation of available inshore sheltered areas for fish farming, there is serious pollution of coastal areas, unsustainable fish feeding, fish escapes, which affect the local wild life.
This is a summary report of the Feasibility study carried by REFA MED for the SUBCAGE project. Phase 1 of the SUBCAGE project focused on 6 main objectives:
1. To perform a detailed risk and critical path analysis over 5 months to assess, qualify and quantify any technical, financial or commercial risks that could affect our exploitation of the SubCage system.
2. To assess and quantify over a period of 5 months the primary market and determine how best SubCage can offer relevant solutions, initially targeting fish farmers in Europe, the Mediterranean and the globe.
3. To expand our network to make sure that all conceivable user needs are met. (The Tension Leg Cage solution is currently being used in about 17 fish farms (80 cages) in the Mediterranean).
4. To refine our IPR Strategy and seek external advice on the most appropriate IPR route we should target and whether to target patent applications outside Europe considering that we have an internationalization focus.
5. To validate over a period of 4 months the applicability of the SubCage prototype and validate its fitness for the purpose by engaging an industry recognized, independent test house.
6. To develop a comprehensive business plan and feasibility study report with the commercialization strategy and 5 year growth projections.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Phase 1 has focused on market study, partners search, improving and simplification of mooring system and submergence operation as well as formulation of an IP management strategy. Further technology validation and testing will be performed in Phase 2 as full project implementation.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

SUBCAGE directly supports the EU calls for the development – deployment and market replication of innovatove solution for blue growth and in compliance with EU strategy to increase sea food production for over 100% to 2030 and decrease overfishing natural stocks and to adress major chalengess which includes:
• ever increasing lack of space as there is remarkable competition from tourism and industry on coastal areas;
• presence of serious pollution within coastal areas, which threatens the health of the fish farmed in these areas and the consumers;
• serious threat from the fish escaping from the fish cages, which significantly puts the local wild life in danger from diseases;
• threat of diseases and adverse environmental impacts as fish farms affect the water environment due to discharge of significant amounts of wastewater containing faeces, nutrients and chemicals into the environment, which eventually removes dissolved oxygen in the receiving waterway causing eutrophication; and
• poor fish quality due to low quality habitats.

SUBCAGE has a potential to disrupt current marketplace for offshore and unsheltered fish farming providing the farmers with very resilient and cost benefit cage solution for finfish farming.
Submersible Tension Leg Fish Cage for Mariculture in Unsheltered and Offshore Areas (SUBCAGE) will provide significant cost benefits and a high performing solution to address current challenges in offshore and unsheltered marine fish farming, thus enabling countries with less developed shores to increase marine fish food production by farming in offshore and unsheltered areas.
Farming in unsheltered and offshore environment offers a solution to accommodating this rising levels of consumption by addressing the issues of space limitation and pollution reduction, however, current technology is burdened with high operating and maintenance costs, complicated and expensive mooring systems and a high vulnerability of the structures to the adverse weather conditions which are prevalent in these open and exposed water regions. To address these challenges REFA is developing commercially viable submersible fish cage technology based on our existing TLC technology for fish farming in unsheltered open water areas.
By enabling cost effective submersible cages such as SUBCAGE, we will enable markets like Spain, France, Italy within the southern and western Mediterranean, which has a very open shoreline and unsheltered areas to become concurrent producers and boost the Mediterranean market growth.
Subcage is innovative and highly wanted product that will strongly contribute to our company’s and partners’ growth, reflected in the number of newly opened jobs and increase in financial income and also resulting in opening many product related jobs in EU. This is fully in line with the EU strategic goals set for reindustrialization with the increased presence of highly added value products on the worldwide market.

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