Irish farmed fish production is a multi-million euro industry - grossing €100 million in 2016 alone. With the farming of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) being one of the key industries for the rural coasts of Ireland. Atlantic salmon has become the largest single commodity in the world trade of seafood. Demand for Atlantic salmon is expected to increase significantly over the next five years. Continued growth of fish farming is constrained by multiple factors and so innovation in the salmon aquaculture industry is crucial to meet growing demand.
HYDROfish is the solution.
HYDROfish is designed to produce tangible products for the aquaculture industry in order to disrupt the current farming practices. It will serve by producing a high-quality bioactive product based on applying novel and refined biotechnological solutions to the aquaculture sector, notably the Irish salmon industry. It will address the chronic need for meeting the sustainability and organic agenda by mitigating the dependency on both fishmeal and plant ingredients in commercial fish diets. Commercial salmon diets are still based on such materials. Additionally, there is a need for solutions to the use of antibiotics to avoid antimicrobial resistance for such agents. Salmon are still subject to various diseases both infectious and production related with many stressors and challenges to face.
Fish protein hydrolysates (FPH) are short chain peptides that is enzymatically and/or chemically degraded from complex fish proteins. Such breakdown will often yield biological activity such as immunostimulatory, modification of the gut microbiome and antioxidative properties. Our plan will be for a major disruptive input in the form of FPH using these as both a partial substitute for the primary diet ingredients, as well as developing their potential as a functional additive. This will promote enhanced gastrointestinal integrity, boost the immune system of salmon and strengthen the gut/mucosal and integument interface of fish to improve resistance to bacterial (e.g. amoebic gill disease), fungal and ectoparasitic (e.g. sealice) pathogens. The FPH is based on the fisheries catch of pelagic fish bycatch where the waste by products is processed into a fish hydrolysate. A selection of such fish species is envisaged to guarantee fluidity and security of supply. We offer an innovative and enterprising strategy to maximise the value of fish protein hydrolysate products in the aquaculture market where they would be of much higher value, compared to being sold as a low grade/value animal feed. They are currently exploited for human consumption and compliant with very high standards. The programme will develop an optimised range of bespoke fish hydrolysates developed to meet the needs for the growing Irish (>€100 million trade 2016) and global (>€121 billion trade in 2016) aquaculture sector with particular focus on farmed Atlantic salmon.
HYDROfish is one of 21 projects supported by the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, a €500 million fund established under Project Ireland 2040 and is run by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with administrative support from Enterprise Ireland.