GAIN Summer School Finale

The GAIN Summer School “Ecological Transition of Aquaculture” was successfully held online from August 30th to September 3rd, 2021!

With more than 40 participants and experts from all over the world, we have spent an amazing week discussing Precision Aquaculture, Circular Economy, Sustainability Assessment, Policies and Markets.

Speakers presented a state of-the-art knowledge of the main challenges facing the aquaculture sectors as well as the the solutions developed by the GAIN consortium to successfully engage the ecological intensification of fish and shellfish farming.

They had, in particular, an overview of innovative methods and relative tools (Life Cycle Analysis, Precision Fish Farming) which are going to play a major role in the ecological transition of this sector.

The school aimed at giving all the students an adequate knowledge to help them building the sustainable future aquaculture needs.

The GAIN Summer School team would like to thank to all the participants!

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Register for the GAIN workshop on novel Aquafeeds

Check out the full programme of the upcoming workshop on novel concepts and solutions for more Eco-efficient aquafeeds, going on September 21st and 22nd.

Organized by the GAIN team with the support from H2020 projects PerformFISH, AquaIMPACT, MEDAID, AQUAVITAE and NewTechAqua and the Italian based SUSHIN project.

At this workshop, we aim to discuss the latest developments of knowledge on novel fish feeds that support eco-intensification of the European aquaculture industry, providing training to professionals on the topic, including aspects of value creation and the sustainable use of by-products and side streams from the aquaculture, fisheries and agro-industries.

Don’t forget to register here.

Click to find out more about the workshop here.

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GAIN Summer School: online from August 30th to September 3rd

The GAIN journey is nearly over and we would like to share results and lessons learnt with motivated young researchers and operators, eager to contribute to the ecological transition of the aquaculture sector.

The GAIN Summer School “Ecological Transition in Aquaculture” will provide key concepts and tools concerning: precision aquaculture, circular economy, sustainability assessment, policies and markets. Students will get an up-to-date knowledge of key ideas in these areas and then will be led through the GAIN innovations, thus discovering how the main challenges in aquaculture field can be dealt with by adopting the GAIN approach to the ecological intensification of this sector.

Talks delivered by GAIN experts will be complemented by contributions from other EU projects, focused on aquaculture ecological transition, and worldwide recognized authorities. Students will be engaged in demonstration sessions, using virtual tools, e.g., mentimeter, and encouraged to interact within focus group.

The Summer School will be held Online from August 30th to September 3rd, 2021.

Five morning sessions, from 9:30 to 13:30 CEST, will be complemented by two afternoon sessions, from 14:30 to 16:30 CEST, for a total of 24 hours of training. The participation is completely free of charge.

Official language of the school is English. The School will admit up to 40 students. The admission is based on a CV and a motivation letter. Deadline for application is August 6th.

More info and application here.

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Novel Aquafeeds workshop

A new workshop on the novel concepts and solutions for more eco-efficient aquafeeds with GAIN partners is coming up in September 21 and 22.

Hosted by GAIN with the support from H2020 projects PerformFISH, AquaIMPACT, MEDAID, AQUAVITAE, NewTechAqua; and project SUSHIN (Italy)

The purpose of this Workshop is to present and discuss new developments of knowledge on novel fish feeds that support eco-intensification of the aquaculture industry, providing training to professionals on this topic, including aspects of value creation and sustainable use of by-products and side streams from aquaculture, fisheries and agro-industries.

If you are a professional in the aquafeed value chain (e.g., Junior and Senior staff involved in R&D, formulation and technical support), or part of the research institutions (e.g., Lecturers, Researchers, PhD students, post-docs) across the enlarged European Union and other countries, this is for you.

Check out the program:

Day 1 (21 September 2021, Online, 9.30 – 12.30 CEST)

Part 1: Introduction – what are sustainable aquafeeds?

Part 2: Novel ingredients – Strengths and Weaknesses
Yeast and bacterial proteins, PAPs from agroindustry by-products, By-products from aquaculture, Micro and macro-algae, Mineral and Vitamin sources, Challenges for a sustainable supply

Day 2 (22 September 2021, Online, 9.30 – 12.30 CEST)

Part 3: Alternative fish feed formulations – Results for the industry
Results from GAIN, PerformFISH, AquaIMPACT, MEDAID and SUSHIN

Part 4: Novel tools to assess feed performance – Where are we and how to progress
Molecular Biomarkers, Microbiome analysis, Simulation models

𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 here 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗽.

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We are One – Aren’t we?

By: Candice Jade Parkes

Sustainable farming sometimes seems like an unreachable glamorous idea. How do you feed almost 8 billion people in a sustainable way when we already know that habitats are being lost, species are going extinct, water resources are running out, etc. It seems like a fantasy.

But on a smaller scale, this may be possible. Using the ocean as a farming seascape is a great opportunity, but how do we make sure that we do not farm the sea in the same destructive way we have farmed the dry lands?

I recently worked on a project with the aim of intensifying fish and shellfish farms while improving animal welfare, all in an environmentally friendly way. This too seems like a glamorous idea. But with the help of local fishermen, scientists, software developers and, of course, you the consumer, this can be made possible.

Fundamentally, we need to realize that we do not function alone in this world, we are all part of a ‘bigger something’ that pulses and beats together, connected in one way or another. Two birds that communicate through songs, Blue Whales and Penguins that both eat krill, migrations, the metamorphosis and shedding of exoskeletons, the oxygen we breathe, the light we see, and the arms and legs that move us – we are all connected, and sustainability IS reachable is when we understand this connection.

The GAIN objective

By: Andre Sobral Lopes

Yesterday we launched the official GAIN project Youtube channel:

The GAIN project

The GAIN project aims are to promote the eco-intensification of aquaculture. But what does this mean?

To sustainably farm more fish in the same area, i.e. to make more with less! With the combination of precision aquaculture, improved feeds and re-using secondary products while reducing waste, we aim to grow a healthier and environmentally friendlier fish.

A goodfish: tasty, nutritious, sustainable and happy.

To define this ’goodfish‘ we need to understand its economic and environmental sustainability, welfare as well as its nutritional and taste qualities. This way we can support consumers and businesses with metrics based on good data that compare seafood options and guide good choices.

This is the end game of GAIN: to help provide more and better seafood for the future.

Costs and benefits of innovative Eco-sustainable aquaculture practices

Authors: Cornelia Kreiß & Simone Brüning

The latest GAIN project developments on the impacts of eco-intensification innovations, found that novel feeds with commercially available emerging ingredients, could lead to farm profitability losses in most cases. This was especially true for diets combining different emerging ingredients, and in diets with smaller amounts of processed animal proteins (PAP) in addition to these new ingredients.

The most pronounced losses were found for seabream production. This was partly due to the decreased feed conversion rates when using novel feeds. The already high feed costs per kg of fish produced, when compared with trout and salmon, was also a factor in profitability losses. PAP feeds, however, were more promising from an economic point of view, especially for Atlantic salmon production.

What would you pay for high quality produced fish originating from European waters GAIN aims to work on eco-intensified production for seabream and salmon amongst others?

These results illustrate the demand for more affordable alternative ingredients, such as the upcoming GAIN-developed by-products. Consumer willingness-to-pay for more sustainable grown fish might also play a significant role in order for producers to stay profitable or to reach break-even.

Salmon farm in Norway.

Room for improvement was also identified for the valorisation of fish and shellfish by-products, especially for species with lower production volume and market-share of processed products, such as carp. The costs and benefits of the next generation of novel GAIN feeds, focused in adding value to by-products and side streams will be addressed in the upcoming work within the project.

Surrounded by innovation

By: Meredith Burke and Catilin Stockwell

Over the past few decades, technological advances have completely revolutionized our society. It has influenced the way we live our lives, from the way we watch TV, to the way we conduct our scientific research. However, the aquaculture industry has fallen by the wayside. Big data, collected and distributed to our hands in the form of apps, have begun to dominate our world, so why is this not the case in one of the fastest growing industries in the world?

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Farming fish with the Atlantic Canada in the background

Atlantic Canada has recently emerged as a global leader in ocean technology, as well as playing host to one of the largest aquaculture companies in the world, Cooke Aquaculture. We have the unique opportunity of being surrounded by innovation. We are able to work side by side with the developers, as well as the consumers, to field test new technologies, and optimize their performance prior to commercialization.

However, aquaculture is still a relatively young industry, often operating in remote places, so introducing the use of technology has been difficult. Through research projects, we have been able to merge two key industry partners: ocean technology via InnovaSea, and salmon aquaculture, through Cooke, in order to improve management practices.

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Meredith’s research focuses primarily on using real-time sensors to study water quality parameters, like oxygen and temperature, to understand how they vary through a farm, and what may influence these variations. At the same time, Caitlin uses acoustic telemetry to track fish movement in order to understand fish behaviour and improve welfare management. These two projects together allow us to provide a more holistic view of fish farming to create a more sustainable industry.

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We hope that our work will help inform other aquaculture industries throughout the world, to become more innovative, improve farming practices, and ultimately create happier and healthier fish, with the ability to feed a growing population.

Women in aquaculture

By: Caitlin Stockwell

I am Caitlin, a Californian living in Canada studying salmon aquaculture at Dalhousie University. Some of the questions I get asked all the time is “why did you leave California?” and “why come to Canada?” And the answer is simple: my education.

Canada is one of the top producers in salmon in the world, and a large percentage of exported salmon is farm raised. So, what better place to study aquaculture than in Canada? It seems like a simple solution, but how could I be successful in a field mainly dominated by men?

Email after email, I contacted professors to see if there was any availability for a new graduate student, and got no response at all, or rejections with responses of “not enough funding” or “no more space for new students”. It was discouraging, and I was about to put my efforts on hold until the following school year when I met my current advisor, Dr. Jon Grant, at a benthic ecology conference. He gave me the opportunity to follow my interests of fish behavior and apply them to an expanding field of aquaculture.

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Now two years later, I have been to two provinces performing fish behavior studies. There is always one thing I can rely on when going to a new site, all of the site workers are male. I have visited or worked at 4 different aquaculture sites in two different provinces and every site is mainly dominated by men, and I have more often than not been the only woman around. This has inspired me to continue to pursue my passion for improving fish welfare in aquaculture while at the same time continuing to push the next generation to pursue their dreams despite the societal norms.

By the way, how much is the fish?*

By Cornelia Kreiss:

To produce a good seafood product according to ecological, welfare and human health aspects we also have to consider the economic side of the coin. The use of sustainable alternative feed, close monitoring of the production conditions or the valorisation of side-stream products is beneficial for a more sustainable production, but will also come at a cost. How high is this cost? Which production benefit or who (the consumer?) will compensate for these costs? What about the whole sector impact?

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These are very important questions for farmers and the seafood industry in general, which we seek to answer within GAIN. In order to do this on farm-scale we use a so-called “typical farm approach” implemented by the agri benchmark network headed by the Thünen Institute in Germany. This is a micro-economic tool which allows to portray the typical production of a farmed species according to real costs, techniques and other inputs: all of it in great detail. In the end we can estimate, which market returns per kg fish should be achieved in order to stay (as) profitable (as before)!

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Sustainable production methods themselves already benefit the farmer, resulting in better quality fish that needs less feed to grow to the same size, or achieving higher water quality which might also allow for higher stocking densities. However, such benefits do not always outweigh the full costs that adaptations towards sustainable production might involve. As long as follow-up costs of environmental impacts are not part of the market price (which is admittedly not an easy task to determine!), price differences are at the expense of sustainable products and need a transparent justification.

Originating from Germany, where public awareness and willingness to pay for more sustainable seafood products is higher than in other countries, I am convinced that a good market transparency is the way forward and I am excited to be part of this aim in combination with more sustainable seafood production within GAIN.

*The fish bought by the electro trashers band “Scooter” in the 1990’s and being the name giver for their song “How much is the fish”, cost 3.80 Deutsche Mark and supposedly lived for at least 18 years, which seems to be a quite good deal!