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The recent main event of the European Aquaculture Society (EAS), Aquaculture Europe 17 – Cooperation for Growth (AE2017), held in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik (Croatia) was again a great success, with 1700 participants from more than 60 countries.

During the congress, as in previous EAS conferences, an industry Forum took place: “Mediterranean Cooperation Industry Forum”. It was a one-day meeting (held on 20th September 2017), to deal with the main challenges that Mediterranean aquaculture must face.

The aim of the Industry forum was to bring together scientists and practitioners from different fields of Mediterranean aquaculture (nutrition, marketing, breeding, health and welfare) to address these aspects and explore further actions to improve cooperation in the region with the fish farmers, mainly of the sea bass and sea bream industry. Ninety attendees participated in this dynamic exercise.

The Forum was organised by Ivan Katavić, Giovanna Marino and Snježana Zrnčić, and scheduled with presentations for each of the 5 mentioned topics, so as to initiate and facilitate further Group discussion, guided and moderated by the panellists: Vlasta Franićević, Katerina Moutou, Dolors Furones, Marisol Izquierdo, Francesc Padros, Hans Van de Vis, Hans Komen, Edgar Brun and Renata Baric.

The first session of this Industry Forum was dedicated to the presentation of two H2020 Projects on Mediterranean Aquaculture, which started in May 2017. Thus, following an overview of the main issues affecting Croatian aquaculture, the coordinators of PerformFish (Katerina Moutou ) and MedAID (Dolors Furones), presented the main goals of their projects, and the approach used to tackle the biological, technical and operational weaknesses of the Mediterranean industry in order to improve the performance of the sea bream and sea bass aquaculture, and foster sustainable growth through innovation.

Both MedAID and PerformFISH are RIAs (Research and Innovation Action) which have been approved under the call SFS-23-2016 “Improving the technical performance of the Mediterranean aquaculture”. This topic was presented from the EU perspective by German Valcarcel, project officer of PerformFISH.

MedAID (Mediterranean Aquaculture Integrated Development) is a four-year project, funded by the European Union within the frame of Horizon 2020, grant agreement number 727315. MedAID’s goal is to increase the overall competitiveness and sustainability of the Mediterranean marine fish-farming sector, throughout the whole value chain. PerformFISH will work to ensure sustainable growth of the Mediterranean aquaculture industry, based on consumer perceptions and real market requirements. It aims to support fish farms that operate not only in ideal economic and environmental conditions but also in a socially and culturally responsible manner.

The afternoon session of the forum was conducted by the panellists, who highlighted the main outcomes from research, ongoing issues and bottlenecks to be solved in each of their areas of expertise: nutrition, marketing, breeding, health and welfare. The presentations were followed by an open discussion with the attendees, which will be presented in the near future by the EAS as a report of the Forum.

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