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New EU-project on organic aquaculture

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

A new EU project was started, with the full title OrAqua – European Organic Aquaculture – Science based recommendations for further development of the EU regulatory framework and to underpin future growth in the sector, Nofima reports. “Based on official numbers, below one percent of fish farmed globally today is organically produced”, says project leader Prof. Ingrid Olesen at Nofima. “There are a lot of challenges, such as harmonizing the standards in such a way that it satisfies the views and principles of both producers and consumers”. 27 researchers and experts from all over Europe gathered on 9 and 10 January at Nofima in Ås to start the EU research project (see picture by Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen, Nofima, on left).

The overall vision of the OrAqua project is the economic growth of the organic aquaculture sector in Europe, supported by science based regulations in line with the organic principles and consumer confidence. OrAqua will suggest improvements for the current EU regulatory framework for organic aquaculture based on i) a review of the relevant available scientific knowledge, ii) a review of organic aquaculture production and economics, as well as iii) consumer perceptions of organic aquaculture. The project will focus on aquaculture production of relevant European species of finfish, molluscs, crustaceans and seaweed.

To ensure interaction with all relevant stakeholders throughout the project, a multi-stakeholder platform will be established. The project will assess and review existing knowledge on fish health and welfare, veterinary treatments, nutrition, feeding, seeds (sourcing of juveniles), production systems, including closed recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS), environmental impacts, socio-economic and aquaculture economic interactions, consumer aspects, legislations and private standards for organic aquaculture. The results will be communicated using a range of media and techniques tailored to involve all stakeholder groups. Further, Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and SWOT analysis will be used to generate relevant and robust recommendations. A wide range of actors from several countries will participate and interact through a participatory approach.

The 13 OrAqua project partners form a highly qualified and multidisciplinary consortium that includes four universities, five aquaculture research institutes, three research groups in social science, a fish farmer organisation, a fish farmer and two organic certification/control bodies. The main outcomes of the project will be recommendations on how to improve the EU regulation, executive dossiers and a Policy Implementation Plan (PIP). Furthermore, the project will deliver recommendations on how to enhance economic development of the European organic aquaculture sector.

Nofima, the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, was established January 1, 2008. Nofima is Europe’s largest institute for applied research within the fields of fisheries, aquaculture and food. (Picture by Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen, Nofima: a taste of organic salmon)





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