Optimal utilization of seafood side-streams through the design of new holistic process lines
Aquatic biomass processing is a sizeable European industrial sector, with a turnover approaching €30 million and employing more than 120,000 people. However, the sector is facing increasing pressure from rising costs and falling margins. At the same time, existing resources are not being used sustainably, with substantial inefficiency – up to 70 per cent - ending up at best as by-products or side streams, at worst as waste.
Processes that could exploit these resources more effectively would, therefore, be highly desirable. However, for aquatic biomass to become more widely accepted, it needs to be of consistent quality. This means solving several challenges involving transportation, handling and storage, while the technology for processing needs to be scaled up beyond laboratory level.
The WASEABI project is designed to solve some of these challenges and allow more effective exploitation of aquatic resources. It will develop solutions for storage and sorting as well as decision tools that will secure an efficient, sustainable supply system from typical European aquaculture, fisheries and aquatic processing industries. This will provide the opportunity to valorise these into potentially marketable products.
In addition to its stated objectives, the WASEBI project expects to provide a number of environmental and societal benefits. It will:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by valorising side streams into new products, which will substitute for current market products that currently produce their own emissions.
- Contribute to human and animal health by providing bioactive molecules as food and feed ingredients, thus reducing the use of antibiotics in feed.
- Secure sustainable food production, helping provide availability and access to affordable food for low-income groups.
- Contribute to sustainable economic growth within the EU, providing direct and indirect employment.
- Encourage sustainable production and consumption of aquatic resources by reducing waste and improving the efficiency of the natural resources exploited.
As well as its overall objective of increasing the valorisation of aquatic biomass side streams, the WASEBI project expects to make a number of specific impacts. It will:
- Create three new cross sector interconnection in biobased economy (KPI 1)
- Set the basis for 7 new biobased value chains (KPI 2)
- Validate 7 new and improved processing technologies in lab and pilot scale. (KPI 8)