The GAIN Consortium includes a wide range of complementary expertise and a well-blended mix of research institutes and industrial partners, which will ensure the achievement of the following specific objectives:
GAIN will deliver products to support the European aquaculture industry and market, develop and optimize sustainable aquaculture intensification (eco-intensification), and create high-quality jobs in the blue economy, by combining cutting-edge social and natural sciences, state-of-the-art technology, and market proximity. GAIN products will be engineered to match specific needs, and the project defines appropriate targets and quantifiable indicators (see below) to ensure objectives are met. We will have key impacts25,26 on the eco-intensification of European aquaculture by making significant improvements in:
GAIN will support producers by providing access to large-scale data on environmental conditions, using a combination of sensors, including satellites, drones, and probes. Input data on key variables will be complemented by the outputs of mathematical models, simulating water circulation, environmental and growth performance. These comprehensive data sets will be processed by means of tools such as the Spark framework (Zaharia et al., 2010), and distributed on mobile platforms using the Internet of Things (IoT).
This will enable finfish, shellfish, and seaweed farmers to make quasi-real-time adjustments to stocking density, harvesting, or positioning of structures. This Big Data platform is enhanced by the option of running mathematical models of water circulation and environmental performance, providing further added value to producers. The GAIN consortium includes IBM, a world-leading company in the areas of Big Data and artificial intelligence, and under the Galway Agreement we will work with Canada’s Ocean Frontier Institute, which brings together the University of Dalhousie, Cooke Aquaculture, and IBM Canada to further guarantee the positive impact of this work in supporting European producers.
Bivalve shellfish make up 56% of EU aquaculture production, compared with 21% worldwide (Cressey, 2009), and compliance with EU shellfish directives is a major issue for farmers, including for problems such as norovirus (Polo et al., 2014; Winterbourn et al., 2016), which have important public health implications and condition export markets: by providing a higher resolution of temporal variability for water body classification (sensu EU Shellfish directives), e.g. linked to rainfall events, GAIN will allow farmers to better address depuration requirements and improve product safety while optimising economic performance.
GAIN will test these products in Northern, Eastern, and Southern Europe, for finfish (salmon, gilthead bream, bass, trout, carp) and bivalve (mussels, oysters, clams) farms within the consortium, to validate their usefulness before deployment to the wider market. The Galway component of the project will execute additional validation. GAIN will reduce asymmetries in first sale, wholesale, and import-export price discovery across the primary and secondary EU seafood hubs by providing a smartphone application which structures price information from EUMOFA, FAO, and GlobeFish. This will create a level playing field for economic actors across the supply-chain to make informed decisions concerning target markets, both spatially and with respect to product volume.
The GAIN workplan comprises 7 work packages. The first 4 implement the research activities for fulfilling the GAIN objectives and overarching goals. WPs 5 and 6 maximize the impact of GAIN, through training, communication, dissemination and exploitation. WP7 coordinates GAIN. An overview of each WP is provided below.
Production and Environment: this is an RTD WP, with the overarching goal of eco-intensifying the primary sector of production, through significant improvements to feed design and implementation of precision aquaculture. We will:
Enhancement of secondary outputs: this is an RTD WP, with the overarching goal of eco-intensifying the secondary sector of production, through significant improvements to by-product and side-stream re-use.
We will test a large range of innovative processes aimed at enhancing implementation of circular economy principles in the aquaculture sector. This includes
Policy and Markets: this is an RTD WP, with the overarching goal of supporting policy and market development. This includes:
Eco-Intensification of Aquaculture: this is an RTD WP, with the overarching goal of combining outcomes from WP1, WP2, and WP3, i.e. primary and secondary sectors of production, and policy constraints. We will:
Professional Development: this is an impact WP, with the overarching goal of capacity building, i.e. providing training for a new paradigm of aquaculture eco-intensification. We will:
Dissemination, Exploitation, and Communication: this is an impact WP, with the overarching goal of ensuring that GAIN methodologies and results are used as broadly as possible, and that a robust legacy is achieved. We will ensure our initiatives target: (i) feed producers and food processing industries;
This WP will assess IPR to guarantee protection through patent applications or other measures. Activities include the wide dissemination of apps for different stakeholder groups, the Good Fish meeting, and the Affiliate Farm Programme. All RTD WPs feed into WP6.
Coordination: this is a cross-cutting WP, with the overarching goal of ensuring that GAIN is appropriately coordinated and managed at all levels, including external interactions our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and Reference User Group (RUG), and all other external connections. We will: