A 20% increase in sustainable aquaculture production in the Mediterranean: that’s the target of the European Commission and MedAID (Mediterranean Aquaculture Integrated Development), a four year EU H2020 research project funded by a 7 million Euro grant.
Launched at the beginning of May 2017, the project will address key factors to improve aquaculture production in the Mediterranean and will develop best practices, innovative tools and practical solutions in order to increase growth and productivity in the European aquaculture sector.
Aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production in Europe and directly employs some 85 000 people, mostly in rural and coastal areas. Despite this fact, Europe presently consumes twice as much seafood as it produces, with imports filling the gap.
European aquaculture production is stagnating, in contrast with the development seen in other non EU Mediterranean countries. In this framework, the MedAID project outcomes are expected to be vital in strengthing European marine fish production.
The Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie is a key partner of the MedAID projects thanks to its long experience in disease diagnosis and control in aquaculture. The IZSVe will be involved in fighting and preventing fish diseases, mainly the viral encephalopathy and retinopathy, by:
- strengthening the diagnostic capacity of laboratories;
- developing and testing innovative vaccines;
- standardizing diagnostic protocols and SOPs;
- organizing proficiency tests.
Focusing on sea bream and sea bass, which are two of the key produced species in the Mediterranean, the project will take a comprehensive look at competitiveness and sustainability of the Mediterranean marine fish farming sector.
Working with stakeholders from across the sector, all components of the value chain will be addressed by MedAID, these being:
- nutrition and feeding practices;
- animal health and welfare;
- genetics and breeding;
- environmental impact;
- consumer perception and marketing aspects;
- economic efficiency and performance of the sector;
- regulatory constraints.
The project brings together the best aquaculture experts from over 30 organisations from 12 countries, including research institutes, leading universities, producers and international organisations. It is coordinated by the Mediterranean Agronomic Institut of Zaragoza (IAMZ-CIHEAM) together with the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology of Catalonia (IRTA).
According to Bernardo Basurco (IAMZ-CIHEAM) and Dolors Furones (IRTA), coordinators of MedAID:
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“With the involvement of Europe’s leading aquaculture experts, MedAID will support the development of the sector by contributing knowledge, innovative tools and recommendations for improvements to the sector”