EMBRIC @ Edinburgh EAS meeting

Thursday, September 22, 2016


EMBRIC WORKSHOP 'Food for thought"

EMBRIC holds a successful workshop at the Edinburgh European aquaculture Society meeting under the remit of the new Company Forum which is designed to encourage closer contacts between the aquaculture industry and the research networks and infrastructures already in place throughout Europe. In a one-day session entitled “Cutting a long story short -  Molecular tools for selective breeding in aquaculture” a broad review was achieved of the state of the industry and some of the innovative ideas coming through in the European Union Horizon 2020 programme.

Michael Tait from Shetland Mussels laid the ground work from the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group in terms of the future capacity of the industry and the need for consideration of central hatcheries. At the present time spat availability, financing to equip sites, critical Mass and infrastructure support are the main blockers of development. Moving from the industry’s point of view Ian Johnstone from Xelect and University of St Andrews outlined what the European research infrastructures were together with an outline of various selective breeding projects with shellfish and finfish. These through the use of genomic resources together with the availability of pipelines workflows for genetic marker discovery could make the EMBRIC  Company Forum a valuable tool for access to high-level facilities and resources together with a discussion forum for workshops tailored to the needs of members and the brokerage service for consortium building for funding in the future. The hands-on approach of molecular tools presented by Elena Sarrapoulou  from HCMR Crete who summarized for the layman some of the intricacies of molecular markers and there use it resolving “farm to fork „certification, assisting management practices in aquaculture and the genetic improvement of important cultured species. Marc Vandeputte ,INRA  France clearly showed in his presentation on feeding efficiency and growth in seabass that use of European infrastructures could lead to experimental designs using families of fish and multifunctional analysis which can help in selecting likely candidates with high feeding efficiencies. In a similar vein Iveta  Matejusova (Marine Science Scotland) highlighted some of the molecular marker studies possible for the Scottish Mussel industry and the problems with hybridization and Mytilus speciation with detrimental shell fragility and industrial yield. Research infrastructures could also be important in providing facilities for disease challenges under controlled experimental conditions, thereby helping to standardize breeding techniques for disease resistance species. The final presentation given by Tom Ashton (Xelect) gave the farmers and hatchery owners some insight into the  needs for protection of IPR and also the “pros and cons” of patent development and the  licensing of products. Here the close interaction between infrastructure and industry to the mutual benefit of both was clearly important.

In summary the chairman Chris Bridges (TUNATECH GmbH) pointed out that there was much need to concentrate on the fact that most aquaculture processes were “a long story” with development from egg to  a saleable product taking a number of years as in the case of tuna aquaculture and Sturgeon cultivation for caviar. Through the use of the company Forum a dialogue could be established between EMBRIC and all aspects of the aquaculture industry and anyone wishing to join could do so by contacting (TUNATECH  bridges@tunatech.de) for more information and access to the network which is now been set up (http://www.embric.eu/).