Aquaexel project has the main goal of turning aquaculture into a more competitive activity. (Photo: AQUAEXCEL Project/FIS)
The EC values innovative project to boost European aquaculture
Monday, October 13, 2014, 01:30 (GMT + 9)
The European Commission (EC) approved the innovative character of an initiative in the field of aquaculture developed by centres of ten Member States, with the financial support of the European Union.
All the partners -- Spain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom -- pursue the aim of ensuring more effective and applicable research in the aquaculture sector.
The project, called Aquaexel, aims to bring together leading scientists from the EU and from other countries associated to develop joint projects that promote research excellence, and facilitate access to resource and centres of aquaculture research in Europe.
It is expected that the results of the research undertaken as part of this initiative will enable farmers to increase their competitiveness and boost the economy of coastal communities.
"The project will develop new research methods and instruments in a more cost effective and applicable way to the aquaculture industry," said Marc Vandeputte, Aquaexel project coordinator and researcher of fish genetics at the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) in France.
Among the topics to be discussed, the EC highlights the initiatives to replace fishmeal and fish oil with other ingredients, such as hazelnut oil, insect meal and microalgae. Other issues are studies aimed at reducing the necessary inputs for farmed fish and eliminate pollution of the local environment, EFE agency reported.
Aquaculture helps reduce pressure on fisheries resources and, therefore, prevent overfishing certain species.
It is estimated that 50 per cent of the fish consumed in the world today is produced in fish farms. However, more action could be taken to increase the effectiveness of the European aquaculture, which is a sector employing about 80,000 people.
According to the European Commissioner for Research, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, "it’s been a long time since the EU has considered that research in the field of aquaculture is essential."
"Not only for economic development in coastal regions and remote areas, but also to improve quality, without compromising animal welfare and the environment," she continued.
On 1 January this year, the EU launched a new European funding programme for research and innovation called Horizon 2020. Over seven years EUR 80 million will be invested in research and innovation to support community economic competitiveness and expand the frontiers of human knowledge.
By Analia Murias