Deliverable D4.1 – Biosecurity and risk of disease introduction and spread in Mediterranean seabass and seabream farms

The MedAID project (Mediterranean Aquaculture Integrated Development) aims to improve the key performance indicators (KPIs) of Mediterranean mariculture and considers health and welfare prerequisites for sustainable and profitable aquaculture in the Mediterranean area. Work Package 4: “Health management and diseases and fish welfare” addresses health issues and aims to provide tools and common strategies for the prevention and diagnosis of major diseases by creating an operative and collaborative Mediterranean platform. Task 4.1 aims to assess the risk of introduction and spread of emerging diseases at farm level, and to describe biosecurity measures to improve disease biosecurity management in seabass and seabream production in the Mediterranean basin.

A questionnaire survey was executed during the period 2018-2019. A convenient sample drawn from the MedAID database of farms/companies covering the Mediterranean basin included a total of 88 farms producing seabass and/or seabream from Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey. The purpose of this survey was to obtain an overview of farm and health management, biosecurity measures, fish health monitoring and disease diagnostics of Mediterranean marine fish farms. The questionnaire contained 19 different themes and was performed as face-to-face interviews. A univariate statistical analysis was run to test for significant association between farm mortality and various variables. Major findings were the significant association between farms reporting no major mortality due to pathogens and farms with good biosecurity practices.Continue reading

Deliverable D3.2 – Phenotypic and genotypic records

This report is part of MedAID Work Package 3 on Genetics and Breeding. This is a multidisciplinary WP that looks to develop and determine the performance of SNP chips in production and breeding populations, and to perform a comparative phenotypic and genetic study of different populations of European seabass and gilthead seabream.

In all animal bioproduction, lipids are important nutrients, because they are linked to production efficiency. The deposition of lipids in organs and tissues, e.g. adipose tissue, liver, muscle, heart and gonads, are also linked to the health, welfare and reproduction of the animals. Hence, compartmentalisation of the lipids is much studied. It is known that constant energy excess may lead to excessive lipid deposition in the body and internal organs and thereby increase the risk of metabolic disorders, oxidative stress and inflammation. However, not only the fat contents but also the fatty acid contents are studied in fish, in particular of the long-chained omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) , because of their beneficial health effects in fish and humans.Continue reading

Deliverable D2.1 – Effects of genetic variability, feeding regime and feed formulations on fish adiposity

MedAID Work-package 2 (Improving Zootechnical Performance) starts from the current context of knowledge in fish nutrition, and considers work on improvement in rearing conditions and feeding strategies fundamental to improve their related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This is a multidisciplinary WP that looks for correlations among different parameters related to feeding and growth.

The aquaculture industry seeks for shorter production cycles, implying faster weight gain, and targeting to reduce high fish somatic lipid reserves which decreases feed efficiency and fish quality. It is well-known that farmed fish accumulate substantial lipid amounts and significant perivisceral fat as they grow, due to intense feeding and lower physical activity. This remarkable lipid deposition significantly reduces feed utilization and product value.

Task 2.1 (Assessing the optimal feeding strategies in order to reduce the adipose tissue in commercial-sized fish) addresses the problem of fat deposition from a multidisciplinary approach in European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata). Considering the different factors involved in adiposity, this task has focused on the influence of the origin of fish, the impact of feed formulation and feeding strategies in order to reduce the adipose tissue in commercial-sized fish. The work implemented here was organized in two main research objectives, Subtask 2.1.1, which looked at the “Evaluation of the hormonal differences between lean and fat fish” and Subtask 2.1.2, which looked at the “Effect of feed composition and temperature on fat deposition”.Continue reading

Deliverable D6.3 – Attitudes, communication and prices

The goal of MedAID is to increase the overall competitiveness and sustainability of the Mediterranean marine fish-farming sector, throughout the whole value chain. Despite the positive general trend in the growth of this industry, in recent years, seabream and seabass production has experienced problems of economic performance that affect companies’ competitiveness. Whereas economic research has covered almost all aspects of the economics of other species such as salmon, the same attention has not been given to seabass and seabream. In this context, the MedAID Project, through its Work Package 6 (Improving business performance and development of strategic marketing plans), focuses its research on various topics relevant for the seabass and seabream sector, such as assessment of economic efficiency; assessment of market efficiency; analysis of preferences and consumer behaviour; and economic analysis of technical improvements and innovations.

This Deliverable presents the results and conclusions of two tasks: i) Task 6.3 (Communication tools in Mediterranean aquaculture), whose main goal is to analyse the sources of information that give rise to positive or negative reactions on the demand side, which may affect market volume and prices; and ii) Task 6.4 (Assessment of preferences in the retail/consumer segment), which aims to assess consumers’ and traders/retailers’ preferences and willingness to pay for product attributes by using hedonic and choice models.Continue reading

Deliverable D5.3 – Development of new added value fish prototypes at pilot-scale for different fish market channels

More product innovation and the development of new products for new markets is clearly needed for a more long-term competitive supply-demand equilibrium of Mediterranean aquaculture (European Seabass, Gilthead seabream and meagre). As in the rest of the food industry, the improvement of the competitiveness and sustainability of the Mediterranean marine aquaculture sector is governed by current consumer trends, which translates into the need to transform the species of aquaculture to make available to consumers the safe, quality and convenience products they demand.

In WP5 we aimed to explore and validate the technical and market feasibility of developing different product alternatives of specific Mediterranean aquaculture fish species for commercial exploitation, identifying the best market solution for each type of fish species, transforming them into new value-added products, and tailor-made to satisfy the needs of different consumer profiles (children, senior, gourmet/premium, ethnic etc.), and finally adapted to the needs of diverse food and fish market channels.Continue reading

Biosecurity in Mediterranean Marine Fish Farming

1. Introduction
Transboundary aquatic animal diseases are highly contagious and the transmissible agents have the potential to spread them very rapidly irrespective of national borders, with serious socio-economic and possible health consequences. The great value of aquaculture to contribute to food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation has been recognized by FAO but is hampered by significant biosecurity and animal disease challenges. Addressing biosecurity challenges in aquaculture requires a holistic and transdisciplinary approach that takes into consideration all the essential components (technical, communication, infrastructure, operations, etc.) of an aquaculture biosecurity programme. These programme components cannot stand alone as they are interrelated and interconnected. Due to the different production structures in aquaculture, either in a closed or open environment, epidemiological units must be considered at the farm level but also regional, national and international levels. International organizations such as WTO/OIE/FAO have set up international agreements or guidelines. Recently FAO launched the Progressive Management Pathway for Aquaculture Biosecurity (PMP-AB). At European level, the 2006/88 CE Directive addresses the application of biosecurity in aquaculture businesses. In Mediterranean countries with a developed aquaculture sector, national legislations are also considering biosecurity. Unfortunately, most of the time no regional planning for biosecurity is considered which is a weakness in aquaculture.Continue reading

Health forum discussion on Biosecurity in Mediterranean marine fish farming

Dates: 4 – 18 May 2020
Forum coordinator: Dr. Snježana Zrnčić, HVI, Croatia.
Discussion moderators:
Dr. Nadia Chérif, INSTM, Tunisia
Dr. Alain le Breton, VET’ EAU, France

Transboundary aquatic animal diseases are highly contagious, and the transmissible agents are potential for very rapid spread irrespective of national borders causing serious socio-economic and possible health consequences. The great value of aquaculture to contribute to food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation has been hampered by significant biosecurity and animal disease challenges. Addressing biosecurity challenges in aquaculture requires a holistic approach that takes into consideration all essential components (technical, communication, infrastructure, operations, etc.) of an aquaculture biosecurity program. All of these program components cannot stand-alone, they are interrelated and interconnected. Subsequently, health maintenance in aquaculture is now considered to be one of the most important aspects of aquaculture development and management.Continue reading

MedAID obituary – Prof. Dr Mohamed A. Essa

Prof. Dr Mohamed A. Essa, as Egyptian aquaculture expert was working in fish breeding and production, and sustainability research worldwide. He was a leading expert in aquaculture system design and piloting. His career history was a long series of successful management of large projects: programming, budgeting, planning, supervision and monitoring of implementation, coordination and control of outside consulting experts and suppliers of specific equipment, elaboration of process schedules and execution rules and check-lists, recruitment, training and management of personnel. Prof. Essa was strong international working relationships with many of the scientists and researchers in the field of aquaculture in Spain, Scotland, Hungary and, United States. Prof. Dr Mohamed A. Essa, was leads more than 230 researchers as a head of the aquaculture division, NIOF, during the period 2007 to 2011 and was considerable expert in the Developing tools for sustainable aquaculture in Egypt.

Interview with Alicia Estevez about organic aquafeeds

Alicia Estévez has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the Complutense University of Madrid (1982) and a PhD in Fisheries from Kagoshima University (Japan, 1996) and several post-doc fellowships (Stirling University, UK, 1997 with a EU Grant in Aid and Kyoto University, Japan, 1998-2000 with a scholarship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, JSPS). She works as a researcher at the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), at the Centre of San Carlos de la Rápita that belongs to the Generalitat de Cataluña, where she has been working since 2000 in marine aquaculture, mainly in the larviculture of marine organisms (including fish, crustaceans and mollucs) and in fish nutrition and feeding.

Alicia has written over 130 scientific papers and has been involved in more than 40 national (JACUMAR, MICINN, CDTI) and international projects. Alicia is involved in MedAID project (Mediterranean Aquaculture Integrated Development), as the leader of WP2 -Improving Zootechnical Performance.Continue reading

Deliverable D4.5 – Report on fish welfare and list of operational welfare indicators in sea bream

There is a trend towards increased concern for the welfare of animals under human care, and this concern has expanded to include the welfare of farmed fish. However, at present, the necessary operational welfare indicators (OWI) and implementation protocols required to monitor and safeguard the welfare of farmed fish are lacking. Operational Welfare Indicators (OWI) in aquaculture are measures that can be used to assess welfare status in individual animals or groups of animals, made practical and operational on commercial aquaculture facilities (Martins et al. 2012). The best set of OWIs for a particular situation will depend on variables such as farmed species, life stage, husbandry system, environmental conditions, especially temperature and photoperiod.

The main objective of this report is to list a potential range of targeted OWI protocols to be used in the industry to improve the knowledge on welfare of seabream, the main fish species cultured in the Mediterranean area.Continue reading