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NewTechAqua presents fourteen innovative solutions for a more resilient aquaculture

NewTechAqua partners (photo by Greenovate! Europe)

The NewTechAqua project, in which the IRTA has participated along with other European organizations, has identified, tested, and evaluated the effectiveness of new tools that will improve the production and sustainability of the aquaculture sector.

Innovations include the use of novel ingredients for aquafeeds, the valorisation of fish co-products into innovative ingredients; and new approaches for enhancing reproduction and maturation.

Some of these solutions are already being commercialized, while others are in development.

The completion of the NewTechAqua research project has marked a step towards a more sustainable aquaculture model in the European Union countries. For four years, a consortium formed by twenty-six partners from nine European countries has researched new ways to expand and diversify European aquaculture production of fish, mollusks, and microalgae sustainably.

At its final conference, held on November 15 in Brussels, NewTechAqua presented fourteen innovations to improve the sector’s resilience and offered recommendations to improve EU aquaculture regulations.

In the words of Cristóbal Aguilera, Innovation Manager of the Animal Production area of the Institute of Research and Technology in Food and Agriculture (IRTA): “The results of the NewTechAqua project demonstrate that these collaborative models, although they can be complex to manage due to their diversity and transversality, have spectacular innovative potential when industry and academia come together and add the rest of the actors, even those external to the project, such as emerging companies that provide complementary solutions. NewTechAqua is an example of success in providing solutions within the complexity that the aquaculture sector currently presents in the EU.”

The use of novel ingredients for aquafeeds; the valorisation of fish co-products into innovative ingredients; and new approaches for enhancing reproduction and maturation; are some examples of the innovations presented. Some of these solutions have already entered the market and are being commercialized. While some others are in an initial development phase and will serve for the advancement of future projects.

To validate their effectiveness, studies have been carried out with conventional fish species (Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, seabass and seabream) and emerging (greater amberjack, meagre, Senegalese sole and grey mullet) finfish species, molluscs (Pacific oyster, mussel) and microalgae.

Installation of Roll’Oyster modules in a pond in Japan (Photo: Suzuki Farm)

The most disruptive solution: Roll’Oyster, by Seaducer

On the other hand, and with the aim of promoting the incorporation of new technologies into the aquaculture sector, NewTechAqua launched an Award Challenge to look for disruptive solutions developed by other teams, which provide economic, environmental, and social advantages. Forty-seven proposals from around the world were presented and evaluated by NewTechAqua Committee of Experts, coordinated by IRTA. The winning project was Roll’Oyster by Seaducer (France), a cutting-edge technology for producing excellent oysters throughout the year by optimizing processes and production costs.

In addition, the list of finalists included a predictive water quality analysis tool, a cloud-based platform for precision fish farming, a system of tools to prevent the loss of genetic diversity, and another that uses Artificial Intelligence to monitor fish mortality.

About NewTechAqua

The NewTechAqua consortium is formed by 26 partners from 9 countries. Eleven partners are universities and R&D institutions, 12 are private companies, and three are international organizations specialized in industrial governance, innovation, and knowledge transfer. The project coordinator is the University of Bologna.

For more information, visit NewTechAqua.

NewTechAqua is a research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.