The AQUAEXCEL3.0 project held a successful first physical industry brokerage event, sharing the latest innovative outputs with the aquaculture sector. Taking place as part of the Innovation Forum Day at Aquaculture Europe 2022 in Rimini on 29 September, the event attracted an audience of both industry and academia. The event, “From Policy to Solutions – Selected Case Studies” was co-organised by EATiP and ERINN Innovation to create a forum for engagement and exchange between researchers and potential industry beneficiaries of the research results generated from the project.

Supporting research innovation to industry application is key to AQUAEXCEL3.0 and involves maintaining active engagement between stakeholders. This event provided an excellent opportunity to share some of the many innovative outputs emerging from the project, in particular through its Transnational Access (TNA) programme. The TNA programme funds access to 40 top aquaculture research facilities across Europe, offering researchers the opportunity to undertake experimental trials on commercially important aquaculture fish species and system types.

The presented five innovative outputs had been selected earlier this year by the project’s industry and Research Advisory Panel (IRAP), based on their expected high potential to have impact on the aquaculture sector:

  1. Dr Massimo Orioles – University of Udine (Italy) presented his results from the TNA RMS project, carried out at the DTU facilities in Denmark. His study explored the dynamic of Red Mark Syndrome Infection (RMS) in Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), showing a relation between water temperature and the development of RMS as well as an association with the presence of Midichloria-like organism. These results can be of great help for the control of RMS in trout farms, making an early detection of this disease possible thanks to the potential use of a novel diagnostic technique called Digital Droplet PCR, which estimate the pathogen abundance and quantify the disease risk.
  2. PhD, MS, BS Ricardo Ekmay – Arbiom (USA) carried out his TNA SYLPRO4TROUT research at the St. Pée installation of INRAE, France, where he explored the use of Torula yeast, a Wood-Based Yeast SCP (single-cell protein), as an ingredient for Trout diets. His results demonstrated that Torula yeast has an excellent digestibility and effectively replaced fish meal and plant proteins and therefor contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of the aquaculture industry.
  3. Prof. Dr. Hijran Yavuzcan – Ankara University (Turkey) presented her TNA WIMSS research, carried out at the HCMR Aqualabs-Souda facilities in Greece. Her study is the first to benchmark overall seabass welfare in sea cages and is based on one of the most convenient fish welfare assessment methods, the Salmon Welfare Index Model (SWIM), with some adaptations. Her model can increase the business resilience and productivity of the seabass sector and attract the precision aquaculture industry for further development.
  4. Raneesha de Fonseka, M.Sc. – University of Gothenburg (Sweden) carried out her TNA Sal-ploidy research at the IMR-CEL facilities in Norway. She explored how salinity influences the growth and welfare of triploid salmon as well as the effects of a higher phosphorus diet on the % of deformities. Her results demonstrated that triploids could grow equally well at 25 or 35 ppt of NaCl and a higher P diet reduces the deformities rate. This is potentially of high interest to the salmon industry.
  5. Dinara Bekkozhayeva, M.Sc. – University of South Bohemia (Czech Republic) presented the results from the TNA FISHSCALEID project, carried out at the HCMR-Aqualabs-Souda facilities in Greece. Her research explored a novel method to identify fish by using their scale patterns, a much less invasive method compared to tagging, which could be stressful for the fish. Photo identification was found to be a possible substitute, with 100% accuracy for both sea bass and carp, as examples of fish species without obvious skin patterns.

The presentations were followed by a lively panel discussion, facilitated by IRAP member Kjell Maroni from the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF). The event finished with a drinks reception as a great opportunity for further discussion about the research and networking amongst attendees.

It is hoped that the industry brokerage event will lead to further collaborations and will support bringing the presented outputs further along their path to the market.