The Aquaculture Europe 2016 conference and exhibition, taking place in Edinburgh from 20-23 September, is the most important European aquaculture event of the year, organised by the European Aquaculture Society with the support of the European Commission.
Globally, aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector in the world. The industry has grown at a steady 8-10% over the past 30 years, and this is set to continue as catches from wild capture fisheries level off and demand substantially increases. The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) estimates that aquaculture will grow to over 62% of the worldwide supply of fish protein by 2030.
In this context, both SME Instrument champions, Gili Oceans Technologies LTD and Norsk Hummer are developing two disruptive projects: "OCEANFISH" and "SELAM", focussed on the international market and with an enormous business potential. THese are concrete examples of how blue growth can sustain livelihoods and so the companies pitched their projects in Aquaculture Europe 2016.
After a brief introduction on the SME Instrument by Manuel Mendigutía from the European Commission, the companies took the floor. The project manager of OCEANFISH, Josef Melcher, presented their innovative flexible submerged system of cages that applies original technology developed with the Technion, Israel's leading technological university. With this technology, Melcher aims to make is company the leading off-shore (open ocean) aquaculture enterprise. OCEANFISH is an excellent example of how humans can take better advantage of oceans in a highly sustainable manner and solve significant ecological challenges.
The projects is supported with 2,3M€ from Horizon 2020's SME Instrument programme.
Frank Spetland, project coordinator of SELAM, explained his overall vision of how to demonstrate and commercialise his innovative production process of aqua and mariculture of the European lobster. To do so, the company applies novel business models for shellfish sea ranching. This will bring sustainable, high-quality, farmed European lobster to the market with significant added value for the customer as an zlternative to wild-caught lobsters. By demonstrating and implementing the SELAM process in their production chain, they will be able to address the European and international market demand with sustainable European lobsters, they will create an important number of jobs and assure a significant revenue.
The project is supported with 1,17M€ from the SME Instrument programme.