AquaIMPACT is a close cooperation action between academia and industry. We act in six work packages, which are:

WP1 Genomic Innovations: Enabling commercial-scale genomic selection – led by Wageningen University

Breeding programmes in aquatic species are becoming more sophisticated and some enabling genomic tools such as single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays are already (Salmon, rainbow trout) or will soon be available (gilthead sea bream and European sea bass). Designs for the technical implementation of genomic selection in all species need to be validated in an industry environment. Companies need information and training on the opportunities, and requirements to benefit from genomic selection technology. Each species and company have their own challenges and needs for implementing genomic selection which will be solved in this WP. To aid in implementation, the cost efficiency of phenotyping, genotyping and sampling designs of fish for trait recording and genotyping are improved.

The aim is to take a major step towards economically sustainable, commercial-scale implementation of genomic selection for genetic improvement of Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, gilthead sea bream and European sea bass:

  1. Produce operational designs for trait recording and genotyping fish to implement genomic selection within companies.
  2. Prototype and test cost effective genotyping methods to implement genomic selection within companies.
  3. Develop and test technologies for high throughput phenotyping using machine vision methods and Raman spectroscopy.
  4. Apply methods for genomic selection and validate their realized impact.

WP2 Nutritional Innovations: Precision nutrition for superior genotypes – led by University of Las Palmas Gran Canaria

There is high potential for tailored feed formulations, novel ingredients, raw materials and additives from new, more sustainable raw materials for producing healthier, added-value nutritious fish reared in novel production systems targeting zero-waste and recircular principles. There is increasing competition among interest groups (food industries, energy, transportation, infrastructure, leisure time) for resources, space, and novel raw materials. For fish nutrition, one bottleneck has been that breeding programmes have now created the need for matching the feeds, and nutritional and feeding strategies to the genetically superior fish at the commercial farm-level. The objective is to demonstrate tailored feed formulae, supplements and feeding strategies, specifically adapted for superior genotypes from breeding programmes in the four fish species, capable of enabling the genotypes to express their full genetic potential, optimising the cost-effectiveness of production in commercial farms, and demonstrating the benefit of tailored feed formulations on key performance indicators of commercial production efficiency.

The aim is to tailor feeds, feeding and nutritional strategies and additives to:

  1. Increase industry competitiveness
  2. Enhance fish health and welfare
  3. Fulfil consumer demands for high quality seafood
  4. Support more efficient use of natural resources and environmental sustainability of the feed industry.

WP3 Impact on Industry Profit, Environment and Investing in Future – led by Benchmark Genetics

The major outcome of this WP is the assessment of how investment in sustainable aquaculture research and innovation can lead to more economically viable aquaculture production and reduced environmental impact. Realised progress and achievements in on-going applied breeding and feed development programmes are documented, with respect to increased profits and reduced environmental loading. These analyses also serve as a reference benchmark to assess and quantify the benefits and returns from further investment in innovation actions as detailed in WP1 Genomics and WP2 Nutrition. The overall aim is to demonstrate and quantify the returns of investments in sustainable aquaculture. The objectives are:

  1. To demonstrate the impact of breeding programmes on industry profit, farm management, environment and resource efficiency.
  2. Economically optimise breeding programmes to apply novel traits and genomic technology.
  3. Define nutritional requirements and feed formulations for genetically improved fish from breeding programmes and under climate change scenarios.
  4. Develop smart-software that integrates genetically-improved traits into predictions of the effects of feed formulation, feeding rates and temperature, on fish growth, feed utilisation, feed waste and omega-3 LC-PUFA carcass composition.
  5. Monitor and measure progress towards the expected impacts.

WP4 Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation under Multi-actor Process, Including Consumer Studies in Finland, France and Spain – led by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

The ultimate goal of interactive communication activities is to pave the way for the sustainable growth of aquaculture via changing the practices and habits of consumers, companies, and regulatory authorities, by communicating the AquaIMPACT developments on breeding and feeding strategies. Communication, dissemination and exploitation plan and activities are to ensure that the expected commercial, societal and environmental impacts are delivered and innovations are taken-up at the market. For commercial applications, the priority end users are the company partners of the consortium, whose IPR and commercial activities will be secured by IPR-management. The target audience for non-sensitive information are other companies, consumers, common public, policy makers, and other researchers. The communication, dissemination and exploitation activities have been planned strategically, by defining the wanted impact, the key message and the most potential ways to deliver the message and to induce interaction and feedback process. The planned activities are concrete and measurable, and hence evaluating the progress is made easy. The objectives are to:

  1. Establish an interactive multi-actor process for communication and dissemination.
  2. Assess the concerns and demands of consumers, companies and regulatory authorities on the key-issues of aquaculture, and to increase the awareness of consumers on the European aquaculture products and innovative processes.
  3. Facilitate the uptake of project results by industry and other end users.
  4. Organise commonly agreed, transparent and effective IPR and data management.
  5. Contribute to policy making in research, innovation and technology.

WP5 Project Management – led by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

The main objective is to carry out continuous consortium management activities and to create international working environment allowing fluent co-creation and co-doing among the partners for the successful implementation and completion of the AquaIMPACT project. The objectives are to:

  1. Facilitate productive relationships and responsible working practices amongst the partners and WPs to achieve the planned objectives and impact, in line with the Description of Actions and EC rules.
  2. Co-ordinate and monitor financial, legal, contractual and administrative activities, and to establish project structure and to lead operative practices.
  3. Arrange, manage and report project meetings, and to ensure that the financial and technical progress reports are submitted to EC in line with the reporting requirements of the Technical Annex and EC Grant Agreement.
  4. Monitor and re-formulate working practices and the progress in accordance with the project schedule, deliverables and research ethics, and to ensure equal and fair treatment of all partners and people, and to prevent and resolve conflicts and risks with the associated contingency measures.

WP6 Project Ethics – led by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

This work package sets out the ethics requirements that the project complies with to ensure protection of human rights, animal welfare and proper experimentation. These are continuously monitored.