Genomic and nutritional innovations for genetically superior farmed fish to improve efficiency in European aquaculture
AquaIMPACT is a major effort to integrate the fields of fish breeding and nutrition to increase the competiveness of EU’s aquaculture of Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, gilthead seabream and European seabass, to ensure food and nutrition security and to satisfy consumer demands for high-quality seafood with limited environmental impact. These four species together represent 75% in volume and 89% in value of the total farmed finfish production. AquaIMPACT will develop products and services based on genomic selection for the European aquaculture breeding industry, with focus on cost efficient trait recording and genotyping, and selection for traits that can only be recorded under commercial conditions. By incorporating emerging ingredients, essential nutrients and appropriate additives developed by companies, novel nutritional and feeding strategies will be up-scaled and tailor-made specifically for the genetically improved fish arising from breeding programmes. The use of genomic technologies will be economically optimised and in combination with the nutritional solutions demonstrated to produce more robust, healthy, nutritious and resource-efficient fish, promoting industrial practices of re-circular bioeconomy, zero-waste and more efficiency use of natural resources. Impacts of the innovations will be measured under practical farming conditions, co-working with commercial partners, producing more profitable farming practices. Developments in imaging technology and spectroscopy, internet-of-things, machine learning and smart-software are harnessed to improve cost efficiency of operations and to provide novel products and services. The communication and exploitation will be linked to interactive multi-actor dialogue, bringing together views of consumers, regulatory authors and companies to increase societal acceptance of aquaculture as a sustainable source of high quality nutritional products.