E.U. launches seafood research on grand scale
The biggest seafood research project that the EU has ever sponsored is underway; it will encompass all aspects including feed composition and processing
The EU is sponsoring an integrated seafood research project that in its form and scale is unique throughout Europe. The main focus of SEAFOODplus is consumers and their desire for healthy products. Among other aspects, the project will be concerned with tailor-made products, better utilization of by-products, and ethically acceptable fish farming.
The way has been paved for the biggest research project that the EU has ever sponsored in the seafood sector – not only with regard to the total budget sum of about 26 m €, of which the European Commission contributes 14.4 m €, but also with regard to the content and complexity of the research program. It takes into account all the different stages within the value-adding chain and hardly any aspect will be omitted from the investigations. The project will focus on consumers’ demands for healthy, safe products that have been produced using sustainable, environment-friendly methods and processed using state-of-the-art techniques. For example, how does feed composition influence fish quality, which ingredients are lost during processing, how can so-called waste be put to good use, and what health benefits do fish products have to offer apart from Omega 3 fatty acids? The researchers have 4½ years to investigate these issues: on fish farms, in laboratories, at processing facilities and in hospitals.
Over 70 partners involved
SEAFOODplus has not only high scientific standard but also a broad network of sub-projects. About 70 partners from 16 European states, among them both research institutes and small and middle-sized companies, are co-operating in sub-projects. Even outside Europe there has been an interest in participating, so the Canadian enterprise ‘Aquanet’ is also a partner in the project. Altogether, there are 20 sub-projects embedded in the integrated research project SEAFOODplus.
Project starts on 1 January 2004
With the official start, which is scheduled for 1 January 2004, the life of Professor Torger Børresen, a Danish fisheries researcher, will change. For the duration of the program he will assume the overall leadership and responsibility for this key project. He will be supported in his work by a council consisting of 12 experts who together cover all the project areas. One of their tasks will be the coordination and timing of the numerous individual activities because a lot of the projects build up on one another.
Research projects divided into five areas
SEAFOODplus is subdivided into five strategic clusters that will constitute the pillars upon which the overall project rests. Each of the individual projects deals with a precisely defined topic and can be allocated to at least one of these pillars.
A sixth important topic area is devoted to problems of traceability that have recently gained more significance. The implementation of functioning traceability systems from the live fish to the final ready-to-eat product is thus indispensable. The SEAFOODplus researchers named this concept ‘fork to farm’.
Commercial companies integrated within the project
Special attention will be devoted to co-operation with small and middle-sized companies. After all, a lot of the research projects should ultimately deliver results that can be put to commercial use afterwards. In contrast to earlier projects where the utilization of the results was only possible some time after completion of the research, important results are to be made immediately available to the public even while the program is still ongoing. This applies in particular to new technologies that will create economic benefits for their users.
Rapid distribution of results
There will be a special working group whose job it will be to distribute the research results. This group will use the full spectrum of modern communication options to make politicians, consumers and companies in Europe familiar with the important results from the projects: via, for example, specialist publications, the Internet, leaflets, presence at conferences and trade fairs, interviews and press releases.
Company applications still possible
Even after the start of the project, for example, partners can be changed or new partners added. And small and middle-sized companies still have the chance today to work with SEAFOODplus. This particularly applies to innovative European companies that are interested in the implementation of new research results or technologies. They can contact the responsible parties directly via the SEAFOODplus website (www.seafoodplus.org) to apply to participate in individual projects.
For more information contact:
Prof. Torger Børresen
Danish Institute for Fisheries Research
Dept. of Seafood Research
Building 221, DTU
DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby
Tel.: +45 4525 2577
Fax: +45 4588 4774
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite: www.seafoodplus.org