Eurofish Magazine will carry a series of articles that will profile each of the Pillars and the subprojects under each Pillar that together comprise the Integrated Project SEAFOODplus. The articles will appear at the SEAFOODplus homepage following publication in EUROFISH magazine. To subscribe to the EUROFISH magazine visit www.eurofish.dk
Continuation of collaboration under a new research platform
Four and a half years after its start in January 2004 SEAFOODplus, the biggest research project that the EU has ever funded in the seafood sector, is now on the home stretch. From 8 to 10 June scientists and project participants from the industry met in Copenhagen to report on the work they have done and to present the most important results. The wealth of results they presented is sure proof that the project was a success.
Animal welfare in aquaculture increases product quality
Many consumers have reservations towards aquaculture because they believe that fish farming does not take ethical issues and animal welfare sufficiently into account. It is true that in working environments less attention is sometimes paid to such issues than to other aspects of production. This is wrong, as results of the research project SEAFOODplus revealed in June 2007 at the fourth annual conference in Bilbao: low stress levels during farming lead to better growth and ultimately enhanced quality!
More health through seafood
One of the most important objectives of the integrated research programme SEAFOODplus is to gain new, convincing evidence for the health value of fish products. The participating researchers from 17 different nations want to contribute towards more fish being eaten in Europe and help fish products become a natural part of the diets of as many people as possible. At their annual conference in Bilbao in June 2007 it again became clear that they have moved a considerable step closer to these aims.
Fourth open SEAFOODplus Conference in Bilbao
Bilbao, early June... The scientists and índustrial partners who are involved in SEAFOODplus met for the fourth time to present and discuss the results of their work so far. The integrated project has been running for three years now, and the first studies have been completed, providing ample material for an exciting meeting. The conference fulfilled what the event organisers had promised in the run-up: the wealth of significant findings and important descoveries that were presented in Bilbao advance our knowledge on seafood considerably. And the researchers still have one year ahead of them...
Scientists present the latest results of their research work
More than half the running time of the Integrated Research Project SEAFOODplus is over and the 68 participating partners from 16 countries are reporting fresh results from the six main research areas more and more frequently. In the face of this flood of information it is sometimes difficult to to recognize which results are particularly valuable. That is why it is important to be present at the the Open SEAFOODplus Conference in Bilbao 4-6 June 2007 to listen to the presentations where the researchers present their most interesting results.
Further evidence of the health value of fish
A healthy diet maintains and promotes health; it increases performance and well-being. Fish plays a decisive role in a healthy diet because it contains high-quality protein with essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Fish oils are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. At their third open conference in Tromsø, SEAFOODplus researchers presented new evidence of just how valuable the food fish is.
Adding taurine increases the health value of seafood products
No one seriously doubts that seafood products are healthy, valuable foods. Nearly everybody knows that they contain Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA 20:5, DHA 22:6), numerous vitamins, plus minerals and trace elements. In contrast, hardly anyone knows that seafood also contains other important substances: taurine, for example, whose significance was for a long time disputed. New findings from the SEAFOODplus project have now revealed, however, just how important taurine is for our health.
A better life with seafood
After Copenhagen (DK) in 2004 and Granville (F) in 2005, researchers and industry partners from the integrated SEAFOODplus project met to present the results gained so far and discuss their work progress. The organizers had chosen Tromsø (N) as the location for this year’s event. A total of 170 participants from 17 countries attended the conference and convinced themselves of the competence and innovative power behind the biggest research project that the EU has ever sponsored in the seafood sector.
Research results enable new product developments
It’s nearly half-time for the participants of the SEAFOODplus project. Eurofish asked Torger Børresen, the co-ordinator of the 26 million euro project with over 200 researchers from 17 countries, what stage their work had reached so far. The balance he draws is clear: all 20 sub-projects are running to plan and co-operation between the different groups is good. Already now, initial findings have furthered our knowledge concerning the value of seafood in our daily diets.
Putting research results into practice
What are the best research results worth, if their potential is neither recognized nor put to profitable use in practice? Whilst it is often left to chance how or whether scientific results are put to practical use, this aspect is one of the fixed elements of the integrated project SEAFOODplus. The ITD Pillars 4, 5, and 6 create the prerequisites that will enable promising research results to be put into practice in industry as quickly as possible.
Steady stream of results from SEAFOODplus
Scientists from Europe's biggest seafood research project, the EUR26 million SEAFOODplus, gathered together in October for their second annual conference. With exciting new results from studies conducted over the last 12 months on fish proteins and their applications, patterns of seafood consumption, and traceability, the event proved once again to be a vital forum for information on cutting edge research in the seafood sector. Held this year in Granville, France, the conference was arranged back to back with the Health Sea International, a French symposium which also drew heavily on research conducted in SEAFOODplus. "With scientists from so many different scientific (and geographical) areas, the challenge is to integrate the research," said SEAFOODplus Project Coordinator Professor Torger Børresen in his welcome address.
Putting scientific findings into practice
The SEAFOODplus research projects will produce numerous results which will ultimately lead to new seafood products innovative technologies. In the context of ITD (Industry, Training and Dissemination) Pillars 2 and 3, the scientists looking at how the scientific findings can be translated efficiently and usefully for application in practice. The knowledge and technology to the industry will be tested and demonstrated on models in chosen test cases.
First valuable findings, research running to schedule
One year after the integrated research project SEAFOODplus began in the Brussels Borschette Centre, the researchers have presented their first annual report. During the first months the focus of a lot of the projects was on the creation of uniform standards and a common basis for the individual international partners’ investigations. But there are already some solid results, too, which are of great value to the industry.
Exploitation of findings, dissemination of knowledge
At a cost of 26 million euros, SEAFOODplus is the biggest research project that the EU has ever financed in the seafood sector. About 70 partners from 17 states are participating. The project has two major structural elements. Firstly, the RTD Pillars (Research and Technology Development Pillars), strategic clusters into which the different research sections have been divided. And secondly, the ITD Pillars, standing for Industry, Training and Dissemination. Like RTD, the ITD activities are divided into six topic blocks. Their main objective is rapid implementation of the results and findings gained during the research, particularly by involving SMEs in the project. EUROFISH Magazine will be introducing the ITD Pillars in the coming issues.
The seafood industry faces a big new challenge: the implementation of traceability systems capable of following the path of a seafood product completely from its origin to the cons umer. The starting date was the 1st January 2005 but the industry will be involved with this demanding task for many years to come. Which data are really important, how can they be generated dependably and transmitted with certainty within the production chain? And the most important question: can the data and the traceability systems be validated so as to ensure the consumers’ confidence in the given information
High quality seafood products reared under sustainable conditions
Fisheries resources are limited and fisheries management is not always sustainable. This is one of the reasons why aquaculture is gaining increasing significance for the supply of food to mankind.
Unfortunately, however, a lot of consumers have reservations about farmed fish. The flavour and texture of farmed fish are thought to be poorer than that of their wild counterparts, consumers fear increased contamination, and they criticize husbandry practices. RTD Pillar 5 aims to address these issues by shedding light on the interdependencies involved in the fish farming process. At the core of this pillar are product quality and consumer preferences.
Successful inter-project networking at "market place"
The first open SEAFOODplus conference was a showcase for the research results that had been generated over the last nine months of the Integrated Project's existence. Another important task for the scientists representing more than 150 different research groups from all over Europe who are participating in the various projects was to find out what other partners were doing in their respective fields. In such an ambitious undertaking that links twenty projects under six pillars the opportunities for all the partners to gather together and exchange notes are not to be missed. To facilitate the dialogue between the different groupings the first half of the second day of the conference was devoted to a "market place" for the partners. Here a number of the researchers from the various activity blocks had assembled with information material to present their work.
Research results produce a wealth of information
The conference in Copenhagen on 4 October presented the audience with the first results from some of the twenty projects that constitute SEAFOODplus. The conference also provided the scientists with an opportunity to exchange information amongst themselves about the work in which they were involved.
Safe, nutritious, healthy products that are a pleasure to eat
RTD Pillar 4 is a kind of patchwork project. It unites various studies which can be summed up under the heading ‘health, safety and product quality’. This project focuses on enhanced utilization of raw materials, as on new methods for making seafood products safer, more nutritious, and healthier. This also includes a better understanding of the elementary processes that occur post mortem within the fish fillet. The researchers also want to give the products a higher nutritional and health value through their enrichment with particular substances, similar to in functional food.
Recognizing and controlling health risks of seafood consumption
Although seafood is extremely healthy, risks can occur for the consumer in individual cases of consumption of certain products. For example, in the case of filter-feeding shellfish, which can accumulate microbiological and other contaminants from the water during the feeding process. The main task of the four projects in Pillar 3 is to develop ways of recognizing and reducing such risks.
What influences seafood consumption?
Seafood consumption varies greatly across Europe. Annual per capita consumption ranges from 8 to 60 kg and there is a downward trend in some countries. We can only make assumptions as to why seafood is rated more highly in one country and less in another. We lack an exact overview and we lack exact comparable data.
On the way to better, healthier seafood products
Seafood is healthy. This trite phrase is probably familiar to just about everyone today. Far less people know, however, exactly what advantages seafood consumption has to offer, or how it benefits people’s health. Some consumers have already heard something about omega 3 fattyacids and protection against heart attacks. But that is by no means all. Nutritionists presume that seafood has much more to offer people’s health. In the context of the Seafood and Nutrition research pillar of the SEAFOODplus project they have now begun to shed light upon some of the most important health benefits of a seafood-rich diet.
Investigating the benefits of seafood for the consumer
The integrated project SEAFOODplus will investigate the benefits of seafood for the consumer and how products can be made safer as well as related issues in aquaculture, the environment and the economy. A total budget of about 26 million euros is available for the project, 14.4 m of which will come from EU promotion programmes.
The EU is sponsoring an integrated seafood research programme that in its form and scale is unique throughout Europe. The main focus of SEAFOODplus is consumers and their desire for healthy products. It will be concerned with tailor-made products, better utilization of by-products, ethically acceptable fish farming, and more besides. Over 70 partners, among them 12 commercial enterprises, are participating in the project. The EU’s financial contribution amounts to about 15 million euros, and the total budget when partners’ own contributions are added amounts to about 26 million euros.
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