About the project
Aquaculture production has a lower carbon footprint per kg meat compared to terrestrial production systems, there are clear health benefits of consuming fish and aquaculture removes dependence on wild fish and contributes to protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
The greatest gains in efficiency of aquaculture production can be obtained by management of animal production and by allying this to improved postharvest storage and processing. Modifications in production regimes to improve growth and yield will impact on flesh quality and shelf life and an integrated approach focused on these complementary aspects has the potential to amplify the benefits that can accrue.
The present proposal is intersectorial and focuses on two essential parts of the value chain, aquaculture production and postharvest processing and resource utilization. The proposal has 5 consortium members from 4 countries that have complementary expertise in aquaculture and postharvest processing. The workplan will target the most important aquaculture species in Southern Europe (eg. sea bass and sea bream). Strategies will be directed at shortening the production cycle and improving growth by manipulating sex ratios in favour of the faster growing sex, using egg/larval imprinting strategies to improve growth and muscle quality and by monitoring and reducing chronic stress.
The impact on product quality of manipulating production cycles will be linked to strategies to optimize cold chain management and development of innovative processing technologies. Pre-slaughter conditioning to optimize production regimes and stress control prior to slaughter will
interface with tasks directed at optimizing product quality by establishing its impact on post-harvest quality and new processing strategies. New technologies such as superchilling and high pressure processing of fish products will be tested together with Time Temperature Integrators for monitoring spoilage enriched with novel data from "omics" analysis. The project will build on the existing knowledge base and innovate to increase aquaculture sustainability.
The impact of the project on the aquaculture sector will be assured by the involvement of aquaculture companies, through industry based training workshops, pilot studies, implementation
and validation of standard operating procedures and dissemination activities.