Aquaculture Europe 2023

September 18 - 21, 2023


Add To Calendar 19/09/2023 15:00:0019/09/2023 15:15:00Europe/ViennaAquaculture Europe 2023THE BLUEMARINE³.COM PROJECT: TOWARDS A MULTISPECIES HATCHERY AND NURSERY INCLUDING MACROALGAE, BIVALVES AND CRUSTACEANSStolz 1The European Aquaculture Societywebmaster@aquaeas.orgfalseDD/MM/YYYYaaVZHLXMfzTRLzDrHmAi181982


V. Vermeylen 1,  *, M. Wille1 , N. Nevejan1 , P. Bossier1 , I. Semmouri2 , J. Asselman2, C. Janssen2 , J. Knoop3, O. De Clerck3 , L. Roef4, M. Muys4, B. Groenendaal5 , E. Deswaef6 , J. Dantas Lima6 , J. Puystjens7 , L. Pilgrim8, K. Quaghebeur8, W. Voorend8 , T. Sterckx9, F. Velghe10 , M. Drouillon10


 1 Laboratory of Aquaculture and Artemia Reference Center, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000, Gent, Belgium;
2 Ghent University Laboratory for Environmental Toxicology , Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000, Gent, Belgium;
3 Phycology  Lab, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 S8, 9000, Gent, Belgium ; 4 Proviron Holding NV, George Gilliotstraat 60, 2620, Hemiksem, Belgium ; 5 Bert Groenendaal Consultancy, Stationsstraat 86, 8730, Beernem, Belgium. ; 6 Imaqua BVBA, Ambachtenlaan 27A, 9080 Lochristi, Belgium; 7 Aquacultuur Oostende BVBA, Schietbaanstraat 84, 8400, Oostende, Belgium ; 8 Colruyt Group , Edingsesteenweg 196, 1500, Halle, Belgium ; 9 DEME  Group,  Scheldedijk 30,  2070 Zwijndrecht, Belgium ; 10 BLUEGent , Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000, Gent, Belgium




 The sustainable  extraction and production of food and biomass from the oceans is a priority with increasing attention and awareness.  In line with this global interest, aquaculture-related activities in Flanders (Belgium) have been growing over the last two decades .  Both industry and government are investing substantially in local aquaculture initiatives.  However, they all face one common problem:  the lack of starting material (bivalve spat, shrimp postlarvae and seaweed spores) in sufficient quantity and in desired quality, emphasizing their dependence on import or wild-catch. Within this project, we adapted hatchery  and nursery  concepts  for molluscs , crustaceans and macroalgae  to local (temperate) conditions, incorporated local North Sea species , and expanded our  biological and technological  knowledge on hatchery and nursery techniques  with a strong emphasis on synergies and integration between  the three species groups , in terms of infrastructure, rearing techniques and management .

The final goal was to design an integrated approach of a multispecies hatchery and nursery platform and knowledge center, and promote the development of aquaculture in Flanders, Belgium. The results were achieved by a team of academic and private partner s  with expertise in  sustainable aquaculture (BlueGent) , hatchery techniques and live feed (UGent-ARC), seaweed  (UGent-Phycology), ecological risk assessment (UGent-GhEnToxLab), microalgae culture (Proviron), shrimp broodstock management and disease testing (Imaqua bvba), bivalve culture (Aquacultuur Oostende) , food retailing (Colruyt Group), seaweed cultivation and advanced aquaculture textiles (SIOEN) and offshore solutions (DEME Group).


For each species group (macroalgae, molluscs and crustaceans), w e started by collecting the baseline information and setting up the experimental infrastructure and biological material. We then investigated specific innovations (strain selection, RAS application, alternative feeds, disease control, …). Synergies in facilities and rearing techniques were identified and integrated concepts validated. Based on the experimental data, these synergies were then quantified and  the  gain in economic and ecological sustainability  was  valued through an integrated assessment tool. The final result is  a first  conceptual  blueprint for a modular, integrated hatchery  and nursery pilot, that forms the basis for a production unit for starting material , service  center  for experimental validation and knowledge hub for stakeholders.

Main results

A collection of local strains of five commercial seaweeds was built to serve as  reliable source for the production of spores. The life cycle of the red seaweeds Palmaria palmata and Porphyra umbilicalis was further unravelled . Strains of Ulva sp. were selected , and  the genomic diversity  of favourable traits characterized, which resulted in an HD SNP map. Biodegradable cultivation substrates and binders for macroalgae spores were also investigated.

 A functional RAS was  designed and successfully implemented for the nursery cultivation of two oyster species (Crassostrea gigas and Ostrea edulis), observing a growth rate close to that of commercial hatcheries. A model on the associated mineral consumption reveals that the addition of Ca and CO3 is vital for  culturing bivalves in a closed system. The microbial community profile associated with the mono - and  multispecies setup was  characterized. The first floating upwelling system (FLUPSY) in Belgium was successfully  built and  tested in the Spuikom , Ostend. The life-cycle and technical requirements for h ard-to-culture  microalgae species such as Isochryis galbana and Skeletonema marinoi were documented and the first steps towards the upscaled cultivation of these species was undertaken.

 The life cycle control of  feed requirements for both the tropical Litopenaeus vannamei and the indigenous cold-water Palaemon  prawn has been optimized.  Shrimp larvae were successfully reared in a closed recirculating system, with a survival equal to that in batch systems. Freeze-dried microalgae proved a valuable alternative to liv e microalgae for the cultivation of early larval stages of  L. vannamei ,  with some treatments reaching up to 70% survival. This further reduces the dependence on and  the investments in  a local  microalgae culture . The micr obial community profile in systems fed with either of microalgae feed forms was characterized. New disease testing tools for shrimp were developed.

T he synergies between monospecies cultures were identified to establish experimental multispecies setups that provided insight into the nutrient flow between the system compartments and cultured organisms . Multiple proof-of-concepts on different combinations of resource recycling and species co-culture (integrated multitrophic a quaculture; IMTA) were investigated.  An environmental impact  and economic feasibility assessment w ere done for the most relevant scenarios. W ith the collected knowledge from all mono- an multispecies assessments, a first  conceptual blueprint for a modular multispecies hatchery and nursery pilot was developed.


 The BlueMarine³.Com project  is funded by the Flemish government through Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) and is facilitated by the Blue Cluster program. We also wish to thank the many colleagues, PhD, master and internship students that contributed to successfully complete all the aspects of this project.