EIT Food’s sustainable aquaculture competition launched in December 2020 in order to strengthen the innovation portfolio of its 2021-2023 Business Plan and to expand its partner community, in what is the fastest growing form of food production.
A total of 85 organisations from within and outside the EIT Food community participated in the competition. Of these, 32 project proposals were submitted for evaluation against their potential impact to fast-track sustainability within aquaculture. Today, two weeks after the European Commission has adopted its new strategic guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture 2021-2030, EIT Food is delighted to confirm that seven winning projects will now launch activities to accelerate innovation in the aquaculture sector. As a result of the competition, 18 new partners will be joining EIT Food to expand and strengthen its community in aquaculture.
Aquaculture and the European Farm to Fork strategy
The aquaculture industry is confronted with multiple challenges, from marine biodiversity loss to water pollution to unsustainable commercial fish feeds. Moreover, while aquaculture products overall (including imports) represent 25% of EU consumption of seafood, EU aquaculture products represent only 10% of EU consumption.
The EU Farm to Fork Strategy, which sits at the heart of the EU Green Deal, underlines the potential of farmed seafood as a source of protein for food and feed with a low-carbon footprint. It has an important role to play in helping to build a sustainable food system. As recognized by the European Commission in its recent strategic guidelines, this sector can make an important contribution to the fight against climate change, the reduction of pollution and the protection of ecosystems. It can also be part of a more circular management of resources. Hence, a strategic and long-term approach for the sustainable growth of EU aquaculture is therefore more relevant today than ever.
The selected projects from EIT Food’s sustainable aquaculture competition will make progress in the following areas:
- Reducing food loss and waste by extending the shelf life of seafood products whilst increasing product safety and quality
- Enhancing product quality, fish welfare and reducing likelihood of disease
- Producing high-quality and accessible sustainable feeds
- Preserving marine biodiversity and ecosystems
- Transforming aquaculture into a circular form of food production
- Increasing the resilience and competitiveness of the EU aquaculture sector
- Strengthening collaboration among stakeholders and addressing skills gaps.
Mercedes Groba, Innovation Programme Manager at EIT Food, said:
“The European Farm to Fork strategy aims to provide healthy and sustainable food systems; this is one of the key objectives of the European Green Deal. I truly believe that aquaculture is a critical part of the solution. Our promising innovation projects present a collaborative approach to meet the objectives of the European Green Deal and to transform the aquaculture industry into a sustainable form of food production. This forms part of EIT Food’s wider mission to make our entire food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.”
About the Projects
The winning projects from EIT Food’s sustainable aquaculture competition are as follows:
Sustainable Seafood Processing (SuSeaPro) – will develop novel processing technologies that extend the shelf-life of seafood products, that do not rely on additives or heat treatment, to reduce food loss and waste from farm to fork. The project will also improve food safety and enhance consumer perception by reducing the microbial growth of harmful pathogens.
Project Consortium: SuSea (The Netherlands), the University of Aarhus (Denmark) and the Agricultural University of Athens (Greece)
Mark Chryssolouris, CEO SuSea, said:
“It is a great honour to have project SuSeaPro accepted into EIT Food’s 2021 Business Plan, especially given the tough competition that we faced! The aim of SuSeaPro is to scale up a processing technology which improves the quality and safety of food. This way we can improve public health by reducing the prevalence of harmful pathogens such as listeria and reduce food waste at the same time.”
Next Tuna: Creating a Sustainable Tuna Industry – will create the first sustainable European source of tuna by reproducing Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in a land-based, eco-friendly recirculating aquaculture system. The project will contribute to the preservation of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and more widely, protect the wildlife of our oceans and seas.
Project Consortium: Next Tuna GmbH (Germany), The Spanish Institute of Oceanography (Spain), Wageningen Livestock Research (The Netherlands) and Seafarming System AS (Norway)
Dr. Paul-Daniel Sindilariu, Co-Founder of Next Tuna, said:
“We want to take the great progress made in Atlantic Bluefin Tuna reproduction research to the final step of commercialisation. We will revive the European tuna industry and provide healthy, sustainably produced Atlantic Bluefin Tuna to European consumers. We thank EIT Food for sharing and supporting our vision – let’s get to work!”
Ground-breaking Circular Economy Feed Ingredient for Farmed Salmon – will develop a fish feed for salmon that contains protein from recycled wastewater in the starch industry. The project will support the natural defence mechanisms of salmon by supporting their basic biological functions, while preventing disease. The fish feed will be made from a sustainable fungi-based protein to replace the use of fishmeal and soybean meal.
Project Consortium: Cewatech (Sweden), Technical University of Denmark (Denmark) and Matis (Iceland)
Kurt Bjørkvik, CTO of Cewatech, said:
"We are delighted that EIT Food will assist and support us in bringing our patented product, which can replace soy and fishmeal used in fish feed, to its industrialization phase. We believe our fish feed will be beneficial for generations of fish farmers to come and produce high-quality fish for consumers worldwide.”
BREEZE: A revolutionary eco-friendly system for fish health management – The BREEZE project will enable the successful scaling of sustainably managed fish farms, to meet the growing demand for healthy proteins. It aims to bring to market a residue-free prevention and control system for sea lice management, to contribute to increasing resistance to diseases, while increasing awareness of animal welfare and minimising environmental impact.
Project Consortium: Aqua Pharma Group (Norway), Pulcea (UK), University of Stirling (UK) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)
Hanne Mertens, Chief Operating Officer at Aqua Pharma Group, said:
“It is a great honour to have been accepted into EIT Food’s 2021 Business Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture. We have a great responsibility to increase transparency in aquaculture and to reassure consumers that the fish we eat is sustainably farmed according to the highest welfare standards.”
AGAPE: Aquacultural Global AI Platform for Europe’s Skills Passport – AGAPE represents an AI-based collaborative platform. This platform addresses the EU aquaculture market, academia, consumers and research ecosystems. AGAPE is first in bringing an innovative model of interaction between stakeholders. It will broaden community on skills, capabilities and competencies, globally and in real time.
Project Consortium: Milcoop BC (Italy), Federpesca (Italy), Gargano Pesca Consortium (Italy), the University of Peloponnese (Greece), and Focos (Germany)
Milena Marzano PhD, Managing Director at Milcoop, said:
“AGAPE represents an opportunity to contribute to a real transition towards a new, sustainable, human-centred aquaculture ecosystem. That’s why we’re so enthusiastic and excited about being included in EIT Food’s 2021 Business Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture.”
DELTA FUTURO: shellfish juvenile production model - is an optimised sustainable shellfish farming system, that aims to guarantee the wellbeing of shellfish juveniles and ensure food security for future consumers. The project will respond to the lack of high quality manila clam seed by scaling up hatcheries and improving seed availability for farmers.
Project Consortium: Delta Futuro (Italy), Biores Soc Coop (Italy) and Foundation Seashell (The Netherlands)
Gianluigi Lago CEO, Delta Futuro, said:
“We are proud to have been selected by EIT Food and to become part of the consortium & share its principles. Delta Futuro’s innovative productive model aims to make European clam farming more sustainable & provide EU consumers with healthier proteins.”
Just Add Water: utilising world-leading technology to minimise environmental impact and maximise fish welfare of farmed salmon – will grow Atlantic salmon in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), throughout the EU. The project will aim to expand and commercialise its technology that improves animal welfare and product quality and accommodates many fish species across multiple geographical locations.
Project Consortium: FishFrom Ltd. (UK), University of Trento (Italy), University of Bologna (Italy), Hub Innovazione Trentino (Italy)
Andrew Robertson, Director, FishFrom Ltd, said:
"Commercial businesses do not always get the chance to meet and collaborate with academia but through the EIT Food network we’ve found the perfect partners to address one of the formidable challenges in growing fish in RAS. To have then been awarded funding to develop, commercialise and exploit this technology is absolutely fantastic."
For more information, please contact:
To keep up-to-date with EIT Food’s open calls, visit https://www.eitfood.eu/press/
To learn more about EIT Food’s innovation projects, visit https://www.eitfood.eu/innovation
About EIT Food
EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, with the aim to create a sustainable and future-proof food sector.
The initiative is made up of a consortium of key industry players, startups, research centres and universities from across Europe. It is one of eight Innovation Communities established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.
EIT Food aims to collaborate closely with consumers to develop new knowledge and technology-based products and services that will ultimately deliver a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle for all European citizens.
EIT Food has created the RisingFoodStars Association, which serves as an umbrella for high potential agrifood startups and scaleups, to support and nurture a select group of young companies. The Association is a partner of EIT Food and as such allows its members to participate in all EIT Food activities, thus contributing to the delivery of EIT Food’s strategic objectives.
EIT Food is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).