A project to drive forward new strategies for valorizing aquaculture by-products
The initiative, which will be conducted throughout 2018, has the collaboration of the Foundation for Biodiversity, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment through the Pleamar Programme, co-funded by the FEMP (Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces).
Due to the stagnation of extractive fishing, aquaculture is emerging as one of the food production sectors with the greatest capacity for growth that would allow the proportion of fish in the global diet to be maintained. Yet this growth in production entails an increase in the generation of waste. The lack of the necessary infrastructure and the technical difficulties in properly managing this waste is posing a growing problem for aquaculture activities in terms of the environment, economy and legislative compliance.
Faced with this situation, AZTI and the Spanish Technological Platform for Fisheries and Aquaculture (PTEPA) are proposing to assess what the current scenario is in which aquaculture by-products are produced, and also what their interaction is with other similar by-products, mainly in the fishery sector. To find out which results fall into line with the needs detected, this assessment will be accompanied across all the phases of the project by contrasting actions with players of interest who participate in the valorisation chain for aquaculture by-products. For this purpose, a committee will be formed of players with interests outside the project and who belong to the whole value chain of aquaculture and who will be contributing their experience and opinions in relation to the tasks and solutions that are going to be developed during the project.
Handbook of an informative nature
As a result of the project, the researchers will be providing the aquaculture sector with options relating to by-product valorisation in the aquaculture value chain. The main aspects will be included in an informative handbook that will allow the existing possibilities and their variables to be presented to the sector. The "Handbook on the Valorisation of Aquaculture By-products" will include the various solutions for valorising low-value fractions that may be generated in the aquaculture value chain. At the same time, the necessary information and a methodology for preselecting one of these options depending on the scenario of study will be included.
Besides spreading the results obtained, this document will also be used as a working tool: it will provide the sector with criteria for selecting the best valorisation options -technical feasibility, economic profitability and environmental sustainability- as well as the best strategy for implementing these valorisation options. A straightforward methodology will be proposed. It will be based on schedules involving multi-criteria decisions and the hierarchical analysis of processes that will allow the valorisation options to be preselected in terms of the scenario assessed.
Finally, to ensure that the work carried out reaches the sector, communication and dissemination actions plus workshops to transfer the results will be held. In these workshops work will be done with the attendees to preselect the options on the basis of the methodology developed in the handbook. These workshops will also be used to contrast with the sector the work carried out and will allow options to improve the handbook to be detected in order to improve its usefulness.