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Food Quality and Safety in Europe


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Fish is a fabulous food - lots of variety in taste and texture, versatile and low in saturated fat. Oily fish (mackerel, herring, sardines) contain Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat which can help to reduce total blood cholesterol. Omega-3 protects the heart and circulation and may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. So it's no surprise that diets with a high fish content have gained an international reputation and are fast becoming popular around the world.

However, the news is not all good. The fishing industry of the Mediterranean is characterised by its high propensity of small to medium enterprises. With mounting competition and regulation they are facing increasing challenges to stay on the market. For this reason the aim of ERMES is to support access to research and development activities and to new technologies for SMEs of the seafood industry (from capture to aquaculture to processing and distribution) in the Mediterranean area.


ERMES is a vital project that assists the seafood based SME's of the Mediterranean countries to adjust to increasing pressure from global competition by helping them tap into the latest research. As opposed to northern Europe where the fishing industry is characterised by a high level of industrialisation, the backbone of the fishing industry in the Mediterranean is made up of small traditional companies. ERMES is employing the expertise of top research institutions from Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

These institutions have combined their experience with that of Chambers of Commerce from Turkey, Tunisia, France and Italy. The business support organisations are assisting in the compilation of profile data on the various companies that are most likely to benefit from the project. Scientific advice can now flow from the research community to industry and help improve the quality of seafood capture, farming and processing in the region.


The project expects to generate greater cooperation within the seafood sector in the region and provide it with the relevant information on available research opportunities. The consortium has contacted over 700 small companies and in some cases companies have been able to benefit by technical innovation through the networks created by ERMES, thus making the transfer of knowledge easier. In these cases the project is able to provide specific support through a partner that specialises in the transfer of technology within the seafood production chain. Overall, the objective is to assist approximately 70 to 80 relevant organisations that have potential either in research or technological innovation and may be supported through more advanced scientific services.

ERMES stands out by giving a boost to the small producers and processors in the regional seafood industry as well as promoting a long-term dialogue between companies all along the seafood production chain. In this way the project ensures the quality and safety of seafood from the Mediterranean, both within the EU and beyond. Therefore the ERMES consortium is not only protecting the consumer, but also this traditional industry and the communities that depend upon it.

List of Partners

  • Teseo - Technical Support for European Organisations (Belgium)
  • Chambre de Commerce et d´Industrie Marseille- Provence (France)
  • Chambre de Commerce et d´Industrie de Tunis (Tunisie)
  • The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (Turkey)
  • Fundacion Azti (Spain)
  • University of Firenze (Italy)
  • Etat - Food Industrial Research and Technological Development Company (Greece)
  • Institut technique de développement des produits de la mer - ID.MER (France)
  • Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato e Agricoltura di Palermo (Italy)
Full title:
European research for Mediterranean seafood
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Mauro Bianchi and Gian Michele Mosca
, Technical Support for European Organisations
EC Scientific Officer:
Alessio Vassarotti,
EU contribution:
€ 599,320
Specific Support Action

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top