Consumer driven Production: Integrating Innovative Approaches for Competitive and Sustainable Performance across the Mediterranean Aquaculture Value Chain
Gilthead sea bream and European sea bass are by volume the third and fourth most farmed fish species in the EU, while their collective value surpasses that of salmon, trout or mussel. These two species are farmed and contribute significantly to wealth and job creation in rural and coastal areas in all EU Mediterranean countries. However, production of sea bream/bass in the EU has remained stagnant for the last decade and the industry faces significant sustainability challenges. The overarching objective of PerformFISH is to increase the competitiveness of Mediterranean aquaculture by overcoming biological, technical and operational issues with innovative, cost-effective, integrated solutions, while addressing social and environmental responsibility and contributing to “Blue Growth”. PerformFISH adopts a holistic approach constructed with active industry involvement to ensure that Mediterranean marine fish farming matures into a modern dynamic sector, highly appreciated by consumers and society for providing safe and healthy food with a low ecological footprint, and employment and trade in rural, peripheral regions. PerformFISH brings together a representative multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary consortium to generate, validate and apply new knowledge in real farming conditions to substantially improve the management and performance of the focal fish species, measured through Key Performance Indicators. At the core of PerformFISH design are, a) a link between consumer demand and product design, complemented with product certification and marketing strategies to drive consumer confidence, and b) the establishment and use of a numerical benchmarking system to cover all aspects of Mediterranean marine fish farming performance. Created knowledge and innovative solutions will underpin the developed code of conduct and good practices and will foster modernization through capacity building of the Mediterranean aquaculture workforce.