Subject: Kick off meeting of new FP7 project DIVERSIFY
On 29-30 January 2014, the European Commission project DIVERSIFY had its kickoff meeting at the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR) in Iraklion, Crete, Greece. The title of the project is «Enhancing the European aquaculture production by removing production bottlenecks of emerging species, producing new products and accessing new markets».
This 5-year-long project is coordinated by Dr. Constantinos C Mylonas of the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC), one of the three institutes of the HCMR, and has a total budget of 11,8 million euro for its 5 year duration. DIVERSIFY is perhaps the largest research project in the area of aquaculture that has been funded by the European Commission to date. Participating in the project are a total of 38 partners from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Israel, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary. The partners are mainly research and academic institutions, but the consortium includes also two Large Enterprises, 10 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), five Professional Associations and one consumer NGO.
The project DIVERSIFY has identified a number of new/emerging finfish species, with a great potential for the expansion of the EU aquaculture industry. Although the emphasis is on Mediterranean cage-culture, fish species suitable for cold-water, pond/extensive and fresh water aquaculture have been included as well. These new/emerging species are fast growing and/or large finfishes marketed at a large size and 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. The fish species to be studies include meagre (Argyrosomus regius) and greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili) for warm-water marine cage culture, wreckfish (Polyprion americanus) for warm- and cool-water marine cage culture, Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) for marine cold-water culture, grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) a euryhaline herbivore for pond/extensive culture, and pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) for freshwater intensive culture using recirculating systems.
These species were selected based both on their biological and economical potential, and to cover the entire European geographic area and to stimulate different aquaculture types. In collaboration with the SMEs and/or Large Enterprises, DIVERSIFY will build on recent/current national initiatives for species diversification in aquaculture, in order to overcome the documented bottlenecks in the production of these species and. Research will be carried out in the scientific disciplines of Reproduction and Genetics, Nutrition, Larval and Grow out husbandry, Fish health, Final product quality and Socioeconomics. The combination of biological, technological and socioeconomic research planned in DIVERSIFY are expected to support the diversification of the aquaculture industry and help in expanding production, increasing aquaculture products and development of new markets. To ensure the dissemination and implementation of the new knowledge that will be developed by the project, a wide range of dissemination activities have been planned, targeted both to the aquaculture production and its associated sectors (i.e., food processing and retailing), as well as the European consumers.
Besides the technical improvement of the selected species, the socio-economic research in DIVERSIFY includes an applied market development approach solutions on perception of aquaculture products, market demand, buyer preferences, new product development, value adding and market development. These outcomes will help the EU aquaculture sector and the supply industry in targeted marketing and improvement of its international competitive position.
The project DIVERSIFY is funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission (7FP-KBBE-2013). More information can be found in the website of the project “www.diversifyfish.eu” or can be obtained from the coordinator at the address below.
Dr. Constantinos C Mylonas, coordinator
Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture
Hellenic Center for Marine Research
Iraklion, Crete, Greece
Phone: +30 2810 337878
The facilities of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in the island of Crete, Greece.
The meagre (Argyrosomus regius) one of the selected species for the project. Copyright HCMR
Monitoring reproductive maturation in meagre (Argyrosomus regius). Copyright HCMR
Obtaining an ovarian biopsy from a wreckfish (Polyprion americanus) prior to hormonal induction of spawning. Copyright HCMR
The greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili), a species with great potential for the Mediterranean aquaculture. Copyright HCMR