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Deliverable D1.3 – Integrated Holistic Assessment of Mediterranean Aquaculture

Aquaculture, besides being an economic activity that generates employment in coastal and rural areas, is a source of food, essential to ensure food security. This is clearly specified in the FAO report The State of Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018 (FAO, 2018), which states that “With capture fishery production relatively static since the late 1980s, aquaculture has been responsible for the continuing impressive growth in the supply of fish for human consumption”.

In the Mediterranean, the demand for fishery products has been rising steadily during the last decades, due to an important population growth and an increase in human per capita consumption (CIHEAM, 2010). These developments have caused a growing pressure on Mediterranean fish stocks, most of which (about 78%) are currently being fished at biologically unsustainable levels, according to FAO-GFCM (FAO, 2018b). Thus, as in other areas, Mediterranean countries are facing an important and growing seafood supply deficit that can only be compensated by aquaculture.Continue reading

Strengthening diagnostic capacities and harmonising methods

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 endeavours to provide tools and common strategies for the prevention and diagnosis of major diseases by creating an operative and collaborative Mediterranean platform. Task 4.2. “Strengthening diagnostic capacities by harmonising competences” focuses its objectives on i) The establishment of a network between all stakeholders included in diagnostics and health management, and ii) The evaluation of laboratory capacity and strengthening diagnostic capacity at national and regional level focusing on the most important pathogens.Continue reading

Deliverable D4.2 – Report on diagnostic capacities and harmonising methods

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 endeavours to provide tools and common strategies for the prevention and diagnosis of major diseases by creating an operative and collaborative Mediterranean platform. Task 4.2. “Strengthening diagnostic capacities by harmonising competences” focuses its objectives on i) The establishment of systems for communication between key players within diagnostics and health management, and ii) The evaluation of laboratory capacity and strengthening of diagnostic competence at national and regional level focusing on the most important pathogens. Given that European sea bass and Gilthead sea bream diseases are listed neither in OIE aquatic code nor in EU legislation, and there are no standards for the improvement of their health, the first step was to define the most relevant diseases requiring improved diagnostics methodologies. The list of the most important diseases was created as a product of several activities: i) results of the survey organised by European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for Fish and Crustacean Diseases for fish diseases addressed to a group of fish pathologists from the Mediterranean region consisted of questions designated to identify and characterise the most important diseases and map the health issues and infectious diseases, ii) the working group discussions during the annual meetings of national reference laboratories for fish diseases organised to define the perception of the impact and risk of infectious fish diseases in different parts of Europe, iii) data collected during the “Workshop on animal health and risk analysis in finfish aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea” organised by GFCM, in Larnaca, Cyprus on 3-4 October 2018 and iv) the results described in the MedAID “Assessment of the sustainability of Mediterranean aquaculture” (project Deliverable 1.2). These documents streamlined the selection of viral and bacterial diseases needing harmonised and improved diagnostic protocols. The diagnostic procedures for selected viral and bacterial diseases  are described in the MedAID’s “Diagnostic manual for the main pathogens in European sea bass and Gilthead sea bream aquaculture”. The diagnostic manual consists of the detailed protocols for sampling, shipping and receipt of samples in the laboratory, followed by protocols for diagnosis of Viral Nervous Necrosis (VNN), Vibriosis caused by V. anguillarum and V. harveyi, Photobacteriosis, infections caused by Aeromonas spp., Tenacibaculum spp., Mycobacterium spp., procedures in the case of mortalities caused by unknown pathogens and reporting of the results of diagnostic procedures. This manual can be a very useful document to improve individual laboratory competence, select the methods to be harmonized and secure confidence in test results throughout the Mediterranean basin. The diagnostic manual will be published in journal “Option Mediterannennes” by the end of the current year.

The capacity of a laboratory to diagnose and genotype VNN was evaluated by means of interlaboratory proficiency testing and it was concluded that there is a room for improvement, particularly in the ability of laboratories to genotype different genotypes of NNV.

Using Google forms, in cooperation with the PerformFISH H2020 Project, the diagnostic capacities of fifty-two laboratories throughout the Mediterranean basin were evaluated. It is concluded that capacities are not in tune with the aquaculture production and the pathways of improvement and strengthening should be imposed. More efforts should be put into building the capacities of countries lacking specific techniques, and systems for improved training of laboratory personnel is highly requested.

The process of strengthening diagnostic capacities started through activities such as the establishment of the MedAID Online Health Forum (which has already launched 3 open discussions on topics such as Sparicotylosis, VNN and Tenacibaculosis) and by organising advanced training courses for professionals on Aquatic Animal Health (as the two courses organised by CIHEAM with collaboration of MedAID and other importante international partners. The above mentioned Diagnostic Manual will also contribute to the aim of enhancing diagnostic capacities. Such activities are important to sustain as pillars for improving disease management in the Mediterranean.

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Deliverable D6.2 – Market dynamics

MedAID task 6.2 focuses on the analysis of market equilibrium by the estimation of the supply and demand functions at various levels of the value chain and under different competitive environments.  The market for seabass and seabream is periodically shocked by instability and price volatility, seriously compromising the profitability of the business and the survival of the industry (STECF, 2014, 2016, 2018). The analysis performed here attempts to identify the causes of this instability and to be used as reference for the development of strategic marketing recommendations to avoid upcoming risks and failures.

The analysis is performed at different levels which involve long and short term, international and national markets and disaggregated by value chain levels. Every model was tested for those National markets where information is available, with the required periodicity and in long enough series to fit with the minimum sample size. Unfortunately these data are not available or complete for all countries in the required format. However, the main national markets, covering about three quarters of total seabass and seabream consumption and production, are included in the analysis in one or several models.Continue reading

Deliverable D1.2 – Assessment of Mediterranean Aquaculture Sustainability

Aquaculture is a source of food, critical and essential to feed humanity and to ensure the world’s food security, and, also is a business that generates economic interest. This is clearly specified in the FAO’s 2016 State of Fisheries and Aquaculture report, which states that “aquaculture will become the main driver of change in the fisheries and aquaculture sector“. Aquaculture is the main productive industrial activity that will play a crucial role in providing solutions to the millennium challenges. Overall, this is the main idea that exists under the MedAID EU Horizon 2020 project.

Production and productivity of Mediterranean marine fish aquaculture, mainly seabass and seabream, are stagnating or growing slowly as a result of multiple and interrelated causes. To accomplish the objective of improving its competitiveness and sustainability, MedAID is structured in a series of interdisciplinary Work-packages (WPs) to assess technical, environmental, market, socioeconomic and governance weaknesses.Continue reading

Deliverable D5.2 – Report on market segmentation: Identification of market niches for different consumer profiles of fish products

Author/s: Violeta Stancu (Aarhus), Karen Brunsø (Aarhus), Irene Peral (AZTI), Elena Santa Cruz (AZTI), Begoña Alfaro (AZTI), Athanasios Krystallis (HCMR) and Luis Guerrero (IRTA)

The Mediterranean aquaculture industry is supplying steadily high volumes of fish. The development of new fish products for new customer segments can contribute to the expansion of the market and the long-term competitiveness of Mediterranean aquaculture.

The aim of the study reported in this deliverable (Deliverable 5.2) is to identify market segments, evaluate their potential for new fish product adoption and profile the key segments. In order to identify and profile consumer segments that are promising for new aquaculture fish products, data was collected in three European countries, Spain, Germany and France. Across the three countries, 1500 consumers answered a questionnaire and provided information regarding their food-related lifestyle, the frequency of buying and consuming fish, several psychological characteristics related to fish or aquaculture fish as well as socio-demographic characteristics.Continue reading

Deliverable 5.1 – Identification of product and market requirements of aquaculture chain stakeholders

Author/s: Irene Gartzia (AZTI), Irene Peral (AZTI), Begoña Alfaro (AZTI), Sonia Riesco (AZTI), Elena Santa Cruz (AZTI), Athanasios Krystallis (HCMR), Karen Brunso (AU), Violeta Stancu (AU), Anna Claret (IRTA), Luis Guerrero (IRTA)

Mediterranean aquaculture industry faces new challenges in an increasingly globalized market with competitiveness as the key factor and in which Innovations in the supply chain are as important as innovations in production. With and Increasing fish demand Aquaculture will be the clearly most important seafood production technology in next years.Continue reading