Algarve seabream and mussel samples studied to track aquaculture

Algarve seabream and mussel samples studied to track aquaculture

The innovative research will pave the way for developing a complete set of tools to assess quality, ensure food safety and progress towards traceability and authenticity of the fish product until it reaches the consumer.

The Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) is collecting biological samples of farmed and wild sea bream and mussels from the Algarve to help track aquaculture production.

The IPMA and other project partners will analyse and study these samples through advanced analyses (microbiome, genetic biomarkers, stable isotopes) and the characterisation of nutritional quality.

This ambitious and innovative research will pave the way for developing a complete set of tools that integrate metagenomic and genetic approaches and stable isotopes to assess quality, ensure food safety and progress towards traceability and authenticity of the fish product throughout the chain of value until it reaches the consumer, thus helping to instil higher levels of trust in consumers.

The aquaculture seabreams were sourced from the Olhão Pisciculture Pilot Station (EPPO), and the wild seabream was fished off the Algarve coast and acquired through the Docapesca. The mussel samples were made available by Finisterra SA and collected by Sagremarisco Lda.

The European project FishEUTrust (HORIZON – 101060712), entitled European Integration of New Technologies and Social-Economic Solutions for Increasing Consumer Trust and Engagement in Seafood Products, involves a consortium of 22 international partners whose main objective is to guarantee a sustainable supply chain for the fished product, developing solutions that provide transparency and traceability.

Aquaculture products are, in particular, targeted on a European scale, addressing diet, health and consumer behaviours/concerns, and sustainable aquaculture/blue economy.

The IPMA is participating in this project through its Aquaculture, Valorisation and Bioprospecting Division in Algés, Lisbon and EPPO in Olhão.

The IPMA plays a fundamental role in this project, participating in multiple activities that cover several Work-Packages (WP), namely WP1, WP4-6, WP8 and WP9. These WPs cover several subjects for which the IPMA’s experience and knowledge are crucial:

  • Aquaculture science and technology (including pilot-scale innovation testing);
  • Health and well-being of cultivated organisms;
  • Study of the nutritional quality of the fished product;
  • Communication and dissemination of knowledge in these areas among sector actors, students and the general public.

The IPMA will also create a Living Lab to break myths and misconceptions regarding aquaculture products in consumers’ minds.

Furthermore, in WP4, the IPMA is expected to contribute to developing advanced tools to debunk such myths, achieving higher levels of traceability and reliability.