EC works to ‘diversify’ aquaculture

Greater amberjack, a species with great potential for the Mediterranean aquaculture. Photo: Hellenic Centre Marine Research (HCMR) Greater amberjack, a species with great potential for the Mediterranean aquaculture. Photo: Hellenic Centre Marine Research (HCMR)
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The European Commission (EC) has begun a five-year long project, ‘Diversify’, to identify a number of new and emerging finfish species that have the potential to expand the EU aquaculture industry.

Titled Enhancing the European aquaculture production by removing production bottlenecks of emerging species, producing new products and accessing new markets, the project will study six species: meagre, greater amberjack, wreckfish, Atlantic halibut, grey mullet and pikeperch.

Dr Constantinos Mylonas, coordinator of the project, told World Fishing and Aquaculture: "The idea is to provide more options for different farms, which could chose the species more suitable for their rearing conditions and markers. But also, by identifying better species, with faster growth, better flesh, larger size, etc, the industry may move to species that are more cost effective to produce."

The project’s €11.8m budget will be used to build on recent/current national initiatives for species diversification in aquaculture, in order to overcome the documented bottlenecks in the production of these species, which the EC says can be processed into a range of products to provide the consumer with both a greater diversity of fish species and new value-added products.

Research will be carried out on reproduction of genetics, nutrition, larval and grow out husbandry, fish health, final product quality and socioeconomics.

This research is expected to support the diversification of the aquaculture industry and help in expanding production, increasing aquaculture products and development of new markets.

Diversify will also look to develop market solutions on perception of aquaculture products, market demand, buyer preferences, new product development, value adding and market development.

A total of 38 partners from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary, will be participating in the project.

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