Introduction to the species:
Meagre can grow up to be around two meters length and 50kg in weight and can be found roaming the east side of the Atlantic Ocean as well as in the Mediterranean and the Black seas.
This species is migratory, so even though they grow up in one location, they can change their journey to a different one, between onshore and inshore waters.
Aquaculture: production of this species is conducted both in tanks and in cages and is based mainly in the Mediterranean coast (between France and Italy). It reaches relatively large commercial sizes quite rapidly, and its meat is considered very good quality, due to its very high content polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- The price of Meagre in the EU presents a constant upward trend since 2010.
- Meagre was the second most important species in the category of ´Remaining Marine Species´ in the EU in terms of value and volume, contributing 17% to the total value and 21% to the total volume.
- The main producers for meagre in the EU are Greece, Spain, Croatia and Portugal.
- Meagre meat is considered very good quality, due to its very high content polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- It reaches relatively large commercial sizes quite rapidly, showing promise for the processing industry; this could create a different market niche for meagre, compared to sea bass and sea bream.
Activities related to Meagre in NewTechAqua:
- NewTechAqua will develop new organic feeds evaluating the use of new organic plant ingredients such as gluten, rapeseed meal and sunflower meal as promising source not only of protein but also of fatty acids thus reducing the use of fish-derived ingredients. The development of new organic feeds for this species confirming to regulations established by the EU (2018/848) will allow fish farmers to reduce fish production costs and to increase their benefit margins. The close collaboration with feed producers, fish farmers and researchers will allow rapid exploitation of results paving the way to increasing production of organic fish in Europe.
- NewTechAqua will develop natural-like recombinant gonadotropins and ELISA methods to improve the control and monitor reproduction also in meagre, thus reducing the generation time for breeding selection programmes. In addition, the project will assess the effects of salinity and temperature manipulations on reproductive maturation, spawning success and egg/sperm quality, for further development of the meagre industry, and to reduce broodstock management costs. The application of hi-tech tools (cameras, image analysis and sound recordings) will provide the necessary reference information for the successful breeding behaviour of this species both with and with-out hormones, and will potentially allow us to understand mate selection to produce different families from large broodstocks, formation of groups and the use of sound play-back to induce spawning without the need for hormonal therapies.
- Using fish flash and functional ingredients, novel convenient formulated fish products (e.g. hamburger, fish-balls etc.) with high nutritional value and desired sensory characteristics will be developed. Meagre fish flesh will be obtained trough mechanical separation from by-products obtained after filleting operation. Mature food processing technologies applied in others food sectors (e.g. protein emulsion, enzymatic treatments such as transglutaminase) together with specific functional ingredients will be tested to obtain new texturized and product formats. These technologies will allow the development of innovative products and will encourage fish consumption providing healthy, sustainable and convenience commodities. Defined vegetable ingredients could be added for the preparation of ‘ready-to-cook’ products.