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Project overview

General information on the AQUAREDPOT project


Title: Improvement of research and innovation potential of Research Institute for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Irrigation (HAKI) to promote technological development in Central and Eastern European aquaculture (AQUAREDPOT)

Project number: 316266

Coordinator: National Research and Innovation Centre, Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture –NARIC HAKI (Before 01.01.2014: Research Institute for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Irrigation)

Funding programme: EU-FP7-REGPOT-2012-2013-1 (Integration of research entities from the EU´s Convergence and Outermost regions in the ERA and enhancement of their innovation potential)

Eu contribution: 1.370.662 €

Duration: 01. January 2013 – 31. December 2015

aquaredpot diagram.jpg


Summary description of the project context and the main objectives

Aquaculture is a recognised future option to provide animal protein to the increasing population since it is an efficient user of feed and water resources, while fish is a unique source of unsaturated fatty acids with significant health benefits. It is also the fastest-growing food producing sector in the world. In spite of this rapid growth on a global scale, the EU aquaculture production has been stagnating for a long time. More than sixty percent of the seafood consumed in the EU comes from import. Aquaculture can contribute to the overall objective of filling the gap between EU consumption and production of seafood in a way that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. The growing expectations from consumers for quality and diversity of food products, especially if locally produced, offer new possibilities to give value to the assets of coastal and inland areas. Coordinated action at local level between entrepreneurs, public authorities, associations, research, education and training organisations can help stimulating local economies and meet the growing demand for locally, sustainably produced seafood. (COM(2013) 229 final)

The new „Strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture”, tries to give an impetus to the growth of aquaculture in the EU. The European Commission pursued efforts in aquaculture R&D and allocated EU budget to aquaculture projects to further develop the knowledge base for sustainable and competitive aquaculture practices.

The profile of the EU aquaculture sector changed after the EU enlargement when 10 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries joined the EU in 2004 and in 2007. In spite of significant efforts aiming at the modernization of the sector in the CEE countries using the European Maritime and Fisheries Funds there is a gap between the technical level, intensity and quality of aquaculture production in Western and Eastern Europe. Freshwater aquaculture development is still an unexplored opportunity in the CEE region to contribute to the improvement of rural livelihoods and also to increase of fish consumption, which is unacceptably low in the region.

The Research Institute for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Irrigation (HAKI) (from 01.01.2014: National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture, NARIC HAKI) is a regional centre of excellence and an important representative in various European initiatives aiming at aquaculture development. It also has a leading role in the exchange of knowledge and networking of aquaculture centres in the CEE region, being the initiator of the establishment of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Central and Eastern Europe (NACEE, However, to maintain its position, NARIC HAKI (hereafter: HAKI) requires a significant institutional and infrastructural upgrading and capacity building. Its research infrastructure had grown old and obsolete in many respects in the last decades and there is a need of development of human resources and networking capital.

The overall objective of the project was to strengthen the research potential of HAKI in order to become a leading research and innovation knowledge centre in the field of freshwater aquaculture development in the CEE region, and subsequently act as a driving force of technological development and improvement of the fish product supply in the region.

The overall objective of project (strengthening the research potential of HAKI) was aimed to be achieved by:

  • Building strategic partnerships with outstanding research partner organisations (IFREMER, France; NOFIMA, Norway and Wageningen University, the Netherlands)
  • Developing human resources through (i) recruitment of new researchers/experts in the following research fields: aquaculture engineering, genetics, breeding, fish nutrition, rearing technologies, aquatic ecology; (ii) acquiring new knowledge and skills during short-term visits made at partner institutions and (iii) holding trainings courses for younger staff of HAKI
  • Upgrading physical infrastructure by (i) the establishment of an experimental pond-in-pond system that would enable HAKI to carry out R&D in combined intensive-extensive aquaculture technologies and by (ii) development of the experimental recirculating system, including the installation of a semi-industrial scale unit suitable for demonstration activities.
  • Improving Intellectual Property (IP) and innovation management at HAKI by (i) organising basic-level IP training and awareness raising for researchers of HAKI; (ii) conducting an IP diagnosis on the existing vales of HAKI; (iii) development of an IP management system and portfolio; (iv) development of an innovation management strategy and (v.) determining the content of feasibility studies made by HAKI to industrial partners to stimulate commercialisation of R&Đ results in the future.
  • Increasing the visibility of HAKI through (i) sharing knowledge in two international workshops organized by the project (one on novel outdoor aquaculture technologies and one on recirculating aquaculture technologies); (ii) publishing handbooks as an outcome of workshops; (iii) promotion of extension service of HAKI in agriculture exhibitions visited by farmers; (iv) developing a new website for HAKI available in 4 languages; (v) presentation of the newly acquired infrastructure to farmers, scientist and public

By setting these objectives the project was addressed to tackle a variety a challenges faced by R&D centres in the CEE region hindering them in successful participation in H2020 programs. It was expected that after the completion of the project HAKI would increase its participation in international research projects and it would be able to transfer the results generated in R&D projects to the industry.