Potential impact

Contribution to EU social objectives and to the development of the shellfish aquaculture sector

Besides the direct value originating from shellfish production, the aquaculture industry makes a very significant contribution to the competitiveness and sustainability of several areas (wetland and estuarine areas) at the European level. Outbreaks of infectious diseases in animals for livestock production and aquaculture industry induce heavy social and economic costs.

This could sustain the economic activity in several coastal areas. Indeed, shellfish production is often labour intensive, and requires a high level of employment. Production frequently is concentrated in family size business, therefore it is of particular interest for coastal communities and the local economy.

Improvement of infectious disease management is at the core of BIVALIFE and this added value is one of the issues addressed by the shellfish industry. The development of recommendations will strengthen the competitiveness of the shellfish production sector and reinforce its ability to contribute to the supply of seafood to European consumers. The project will provide knowledge on relevant oyster and mussel pathogens and propose recommendations in terms of infectious disease control in bivalve aquaculture. Launching BIVALIFE within the framework of an EU funded project (Collaborative Project) involving research institutes from several concerned EU Member States, national laboratories involved in diagnosing bivalve pathogens and a high tech SME will allow economies of scale, complementarities and will provide results that will make possible the control of infectious diseases by the production sector.

In shellfish hatcheries, important production losses can be associated with infectious diseases. Using reliable, accurate and validated diagnostic tools, brood stock, larvae and spat health management will be more efficient. It will also allow the selection of batches before transfer or sale. Controlled batches without pathogen detection or improved immune resistance to pathogens can improve the competitiveness of hatcheries through a biosecurity approach that will improve the quality of the marketing offer. Moreover, oyster and mussel seed are submitted to numerous transfers of animals from different places and countries. An enhanced traceability of health status will help exchanges within one specific country or between EU countries.

The project also brings a significant technological impact as it will implement a state of the art Ultra Violet (UV) based technology. This HOD technology has demonstrated proven effectiveness in the aquaculture segment by damaging pathogen DNA or RNA, and by this inactivating all microorganisms without forming disinfection by products.