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FEATURE

DIVERSIFY European aquaculture in safe hands by Rhiannon White, International Aquafeed

Three years since the European Commissionfunded project DIVERSIFY began its endeavor to acquire the necessary knowledge for the diversification of European Aquaculture production based on new/emerging finfish species, its annual meeting for 2017 was held in January. International Aquafeed magazine was invited to catch up on its progress.

T

he jam-packed two-day conference was held at the majestic Palau Macaya in the heart of Barcelona. The Palau Macaya was created in the midst of the Modernism Movement as a result of the meticulous collaboration between architects and artisans. Fittingly, over a hundred years later, more than 60 leading researchers from around Europe came together there to collaborate and present their latest advancements for the six species under intense exploration for the diversification of European aquaculture production. The conference was followed by a third day workshop, held at the University Pompeu Fabra, Campus del Mar near Porto Olimpico, in order to coordinate the work to be implemented in 2017. The species studied in DIVERSIFY are greater amberjack

(Seriola dumerili), meagre (Argyrosomus regius), Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), grey mullet (Mugil cephalus), pike perch (Sander lucioperca) and wreck fish (Polyprion americanus). Opening discussion on the status of sustainable aquaculture, the Director of Fisheries, Cataluña, Dr Sergei Tudela Casanovas addressed the notion “We all know we’re facing lots of challenges – an important crisis in terms of overfishing in the Mediterranean, the need to have proper business plans and finally the task of connecting this to new consumption patterns”. Recognizing that we are consuming seafood in very different ways to even 20 years ago and giving the example of the once popular and now diminished consumption of trout in Cataluña, Dr. Tudela Casanovas highlighted the imminent need to adapt to climate change. He concluded “We need new ideas, a fresh look into aquaculture and I hope that we are able to apply our new results into the field”. On that note, tackling bottlenecks in the production of each species began. Presentations included ‘Wreck fish ontogeny of the major organs related to feeding and digestion’ by Dr. Ioannis Papadakis, from HCMR (Greece) and approaches to improve the nutrition and husbandry of DIVERSIFY’s target species were addressed by Dr. Covadonga Rodriquez, from University of La Laguna (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain), within the context of consumer demands for healthy and environmentally friendly aquaculture products. Important aspects of meagre culture were also investigated upon in relation to the effect of different stimuli parameters on feeding behavior such as cage depth, light conditions and water temperature. These aspects were addressed by Dr A. Tsalafouta from HCMR (Greece). Also, the role of ‘Epigenetics in aquaculture’ was addressed by Dr. Francesc

12 | April 2017 - International Aquafeed

APR 2017 - International Aquafeed magazine