UK.- New European research consortium will use next-generation breeding technology to produce safer, healthier and resource-efficient farmed fish.
AquaIMPACT is a new Horizon 2020 project, which integrates the fields of fish breeding and nutrition to increase the competiveness of EU’s aquaculture of Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, gilthead seabream and European seabass.
The four species together represent 75% in volume and 89% in value of the total farmed finfish production in Europe. The aim is to ensure food and nutrition security and to satisfy consumer demands for high-quality seafood with limited environmental impact.
EU consumers eat approximately 24.3 kg of farmed fish each year (data for 2016). Global seafood consumption has more than doubled in the past 15 years, and aquaculture production is still growing 5-6 % annually.
Genomic breeding technologies
“AquaIMPACT creates and implements next-generation selective breeding methodology, and produces novel nutritional protocols for the genetically superior fish originating from breeding programmes. Genomic selection technology is especially suitable for a more effective improvement of traits such as disease resistance, quality, and processing traits. To support these objectives, we develop machine learning and Internet of Things to provide added value for feed development, genotyping, trait recording and data processing in practical breeding programmes” say Antti Kause, Project Coordinator, Natural Resources Institute Finland.
Furthermore, the use of emerging raw materials, insect meal, single-cell organisms and novel functional additives are optimised in aquafeeds.
The solutions developed within this project will produce more nutritious, resource-efficient and healthier farmed fish, promoting industrial practices for the re-circular bioeconomy, fish welfare, zero-waste and a more efficient use of natural resources. These combined with communication actions will support consumers in making sustainable and healthy food choices.
Collaboration with industry
AquaIMPACT started in January 2019. The consortium consists of 11 companies and 13 research institutes, with solid track-record for developing technological advancement for the benefit of industries and consumers. The project is coordinated by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
AquaIMPACT stands for Genomic and Nutritional Innovations for Genetically Superior Farmed Fish to Improve Efficiency in European Aquaculture.
Low-cost solutions for disease resistance
The research undertaken by The Roslin Institute as part of the AquaIMPACT project will be to develop low-cost solutions for genomic selection for disease resistance, in particular with a focus on rainbow trout.
Roslin will also contribute to studying the genomic mechanisms by which early life nutrition can affect the growth and health of farmed fish.
“The AquaIMPACT project is an exciting collaborative project which will help translate recent breeding and nutrition research for application to improve aquaculture industry production and fish health” said Professor Ross Houston , lead scientist at The Roslin Institute
AquaIMPACT website: https://www.luke.fi/aquaimpact/
Source: The University of Edinburgh