Introduction to the species:
Seabass normally reaches a length of half a metre and a weight of 12kg. It is mostly found in the wild waters around Europe, such as the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean and Black seas.
As they hunt at night, they normally eat smaller fish, such as crustaceans. This species is the most captured across the Atlantic Ocean, where France is the most active country, and the Mediterranean sea, with Italy and Egypt as the main capturing countries.
•In 2018, EU marine sector profit reached EUR 99 million with Greece being the main seabass and seabream producer.
•Greece produced just over one half of the total EU production of European seabass (51%).
•The aquafarming production of seabass in the EU was the third most valuable commercial species in 2017 together with seabream (10%).
•The EU is the largest producer of seabass with a share of 80%, far above the second producer (Egypt).
•Cage farming is the main ongrowing production system, whereas hatchery production takes place in highly specialized on-land facilities. Recirculating Aquaculture Systems is a growing technology.
Activities related to European seabass in NewTechAqua:
1.NewTechAqua will advance current aquafeed formulations by developing a sustainable wild caught fishmeal-free diet for European seabass reducing the inclusion of fishmeal and conventional plant ingredients by adopting sustainable solution with the inclusion of fish by-product and marine microalgae. Advanced R&D expertise in fish nutrition together with industrial know-how in formulation and aquafeed production technology will allow the industry to tailor innovative products matching affordable costs, sustainability, growth performance and flesh quality. The validation in operational environment (cage farm, large enterprises) will facilitate the entrance into the EU market.
2.NewTechAqua will develop a fully dynamic predictive model for assisting the Precision fish farming implementation in an inland seabass farm. At the core of the approach is the development of seabass dynamic population models based on ecophysiological individual models, including data assimilation algorithms applied to ecological models. These algorithms are very promising, as they could provide crucial information in the interpretation phase. This will allow estimating non-observable fish farming variables such as fish appetite, fish ammonia excretion, fish oxygen consumption, among others and correct these estimates based on real data (e.g. O2, ammonia and pH levels, etc.). This information will be translated into real-time actionable suggestions, allowing operators to optimize feeding, oxygen supply and flow rates, and enhancing the control on released nitrogen in wastewaters.
3.We will estimate the genetic (and genomic) by feed interactions effects on growth, fillet quality and production related fish health (e.g. lipidosis) traits when fish have been high energy feed from different origins. A new product with improved and controlled quality of seabass for the fillet market will be developed. This product is derived from both improved breeding objective and feed management practices. Analysis of the genetic architecture (number and size of QTLs) of fillet quality traits will be performed, in addition to multitrait analysis of fillet quality and production related fish health traits. Accurate and high-throughput phenotypic recording methods will also be standardized at the slaughter line for these traits
4.Novel non-thermal sanitation and processing methods will be tested on pilot scale as an alternative approach to the conventional post-harvest processing methods, with the aim to obtain fresh and minimally processed products with improved quality and stability and high nutritional functionality. PEF treatment at different intensities (UNIBO) will be studied on seabass fillets, as a pre-treatment to improve mass transfer during further cold-formulation processing (e.g. marinating). Static high-pressure treatment (HPP) will be tested on minimally processed (e.g. fillets, tartar) seabass.
5.The valorisation of solid fish by-products (e.g. skin and scales, bones and residual meat) and wastewaters originated from the washing operations of fish processing of seabass (e.g. gutting, filleting) will be obtained using sustainable processing technologies. The properties of these by-products will be assessed for their potential utilization as new ingredients, livestock feeds and/or fertilizers.