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AQUAEXCEL3.0 : a project for the development of European aquaculture

@ Christian Slagmulder - INRAE
Where do your sea products come from? In Europe, 75% of these products are imported. It therefore seems important to guarantee a sustainable growth for aquaculture in Europe. Such is the mission of the H2020 AQUAEXCEL project, which began in 2011. Today it evolves to a third edition: AQUAEXCEL3.0.

This European research infrastructure project, coordinated by INRAE, includes 22 partners including Ifremer and the Université de Lorraine. These partners coordinate a network of 40 aquaculture experimental infrastructures in 11 countries. This network allows biological and technological experiments on all species and European aquaculture breeding systems to be performed. Research infrastructure projects play an essential role in structuring European research.

Today, Europe does not produce enough sea products for its own consumption; more than 75% are imported. Even though fishing cannot produce more due to the overexploitation of stocks, this is not true for aquaculture that provides over 50% of all fish consumed today in the world, but only 22% in Europe. The development of aquaculture therefore must be done within an economic, social and environmental sustainability while respecting animal welfare. To reach these goals, Europe has invested in research in aquaculture.

AQUAEXCEL3.0 follows AQUAEXCEL and AQUAEXCEL2020. It comprises a network of 40 experimental aquaculture research infrastructures, managed by 22 partners - including INRAE, Ifremer and the Université de Lorraine - in 11 countries (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, the Czech Republic, Hungry). INRAE has coordinated the AQUAEXCEL projects since the beginning. Four of its aquaculture infrastructures are part of the AQUAEXCEL3.0 network1. This network makes it possible to carry out both biological and technological experiments at their best level on all European aquaculture species and breeding systems. This new edition of this project is aimed at three parallel actions:

  • The first action will be to provide facilities with a transnational access (TNA) so that external, academic or industrial partners can perform experiments with the best scientific support possible.This rationalizes the use of the most efficient experimental infrastructures, offering unique services, by academic and industrial partners, and thus makes it possible to make progress on the essential issues of the sector. Nearly 200 transnational access projects are planned over the 5 years of the project.
     
  • To improve the services provided by these infrastructures in response to research questions will also be at the heart of the project. An important focus will be given to the 3R2 rule, with the application of innovative biotechnologies allowing to limit the number of animals used in experiments (cell cultures, stem cell transplants) and to improve animal welfare on the one hand and the development of digital simulation models for experiments (developed in virtual laboratories).
     
  • A part of the project consists in developing a web site in continuation of the existing one (https://www.aquaexcel2020.eu/), with notably the creation of virtual classes on important aquaculture research subjects. Examples of the subjects treated will be indicators of welfare in aquaculture species or the production of algea and mollusks on experimental farms.

Project Identity Card

AQUAculture infrastructures for EXCELlence in EUropean fish research 3.0 (2020 – 2025)

Coordination INRAE –  partners: INRAE (FR), INRAE-Transfert (FR), IFREMER (FR), UNIVERSITE DE LORRAINE (FR), IMR (NO), UoS (UK), CSIC (SP), HCMR (GR), NAIK (HU), NOFIMA (NO) , JU (CZ), NTNU (NO), SO (NO), ULPGC (SP), WU (NL), WR (NL), INTRIGO (IR), DTU (DK), CCMAR (PT), IEO (SP), EATIP (BE), UNITO (IT)

Horizon 2020 European Financing: 9,981,113.75€

Projet H2020 n° 871108

1The Units implicated are the PEIMA (Pisciculture Expérimentale INRAE des Monts d'Arrée), NUMEA (Nutrition, Metabolism, Aquaculture), LPGP (Laboratoire de Physiologie et Génomique des poissons) and IERP (Infectiologie Expérimentale des Rongeurs et des Poissons).

2The 3R principle implicates replacing, reducing and improving the use of animals in research.

See also