How research and innovation make the aquaculture industry more competitive

Some exciting research projects, including the reducing of methane in burping cows and new cultivation technologies for microalgae reducing the freshwater footprint.
Giant kelp
8 August, 2022
By Bert Popping

This week’s news from the aquaculture segment mainly covered two areas: research and innovation and measures to make the aquaculture industry more sustainable. This post will focus on the research and innovation aspect. The second post later this week will look at the efforts to make the aquaculture industry more sustainable.

But let’s start with the research and innovation news from this week:

A reading on the funnier side were articles related to burping cows. What that has to do with aquaculture? A lot. Because it seems that algae can help reduce the quantity of methane (which is a greenhouse gas) of these burping cows. An article published in PLOS One by Breanna M. RoqueI described that the red macroalgae (seaweed) Asparagopsis spp. has shown to reduce ruminant enteric methane (CH4) production up to 99% in vitro. Now Clean Seas partnered with a local start-up to cultivate marine algae to put that research into practice.

Further projects with algae are the so-called lighthouse project of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research which seeks to cultivate kelp and mussel within offshore wind farms, and the new cultivation method for microalgae that allows producers to slash their freshwater footprint. This is part of the European Commission-funded project called REALM, an acronym for “Re-inventing Ecosystem And Land-surface Models”.

Another research project of the University of Sterling in Scotland looks at how the humble sea cucumber could transform fish farming. Their research suggests that the sea cucumber can actually clean up fish farms by feeding and growing on organic waste released from commercial fish farms. The research is part of the European Commission-funded TAPAS project, where TAPAS is the acronym for Tools for Assessment and Planning of Aquaculture Sustainability.

We already reported in June of this year about the new strategic guidelines that are aimed at making European aquaculture more competitive, sustainable and resilient. These projects are bound to make significant contributions to these goals.

However, the implementation and commercialisation will also require different skills from the workforce in all areas: scientific, technical and commercial. The EIT Food-funded AGAPE project will contribute its share to the transition of the workforce through reskilling and upskilling by providing an AI-based platform that allows workers from the aquaculture industry but also enables workers from other industry segments to adapt to the changing needs of the aquaculture industry.

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