AquaVitae consortium gathers in Florianópolis, Brazil, for its 4th annual meeting

4th annual meeting in Florianópolis, Brazil

AquaVitae partners in the UFSC ´s marine lab in Florianópolis, Brazil, during its 4th annual meeting. Photos: CETMAR & F. do Nascimento.

The AquaVitae project held its 4th annual meeting from the 17th to 19th April in the Brazilian island of Florianópolis. The event was attended by 68 attendees, representing industry and research partners from 13 different countries, spread across three continents. The consortium had intended to meet in Brazil in 2020 but unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic that meeting was held online, so it was a pleasure to finally make it to Florianopolis. Philip James, AquaVitae´s coordinator, opened the event and highlighted the current state of the project.

Felipe do Nascimento, from the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (USFC), a research partner in the project, hosted the event and welcomed the participants and some representatives of the sector in the region: Tiago Bolan Frigo, Secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries of Santa Catarina and Professor Rosete Pescador, Head of the Agriculture Faculty from Universidade de Santa Catarina (pictured along with F. do Nascimento).

Professor Pescador was glad to receive the partners coming from Europe, Namibia and South Africa in her country and reiterated that she hoped there would be more synergies of this kind, “We need a collaborative future and a sustainable aquaculture”.

felipe and rosete welcome AquaVitae partners in Brazil

Results and exploitation
Since it is the last year of the project, partners focused on the work ahead through to November as well as presenting results and synergies from the project up to this point.

Some of these results presented included the launch of the SALTS MOOC, a Massive Open Online Course focus on the Sustainable Aquaculture of Low Trophic Species. This course offers an interdisciplinary approach with 11 modules focusing on low trophic species as well as other cross cutting areas such as culture systems, governance and business economics.

Additionally, the AquaVitae Game was presented. It consists of a board game that checks knowledge and encourages discussion on low trophic aquaculture in a dynamic way. It was played during the meeting both in English (by the AquaVitae partners) and in Portuguese (by students from UFSC).

The aim of the game is to raise awareness on aquaculture while learning about the benefits and advantages of growing low trophic species and envisioning sustainability as a key pillar for future aquaculture.

The CWA (CEN Workshop Agreement, or low-level European standard) was also presented and discussed in detail. A special session was held on the exploitation of results, explaining how to optimize the impact of project outputs.

An Atlantic network
The meeting wrapped up with a networking session facilitated by Rosa Chapela (CETMAR). A representative partner from each continent depicted the state of art of the sector in their region from a research and an industry point of view. Three students from the AquaVitae exchange programme shared also their experience. The aim of the session was to highlight the collaboration that exists across the Atlantic with concrete actions from within the project and discuss collaborative opportunities for the future.

The session finalised with a policy roundtable. Governance and administrative issues were discussed to understand the situation in Europe, South Africa and Brazil. Andrei Polejack, from the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, pinpointed the need of a continuity in the collaboration among the 3 continents and the necessity to be present altogether as a real evidence of the synergies done during this kind of projects.

Field trips
The event also included two excursions: the first one was a visit to the UFSC lab where Felipe do Nascimento showed attendees the Marine Shrimp Laboratory. Carlos H. Araujo guided us through the mollusc section of the Marine Stations, and Liseth C. Perenguez explained the work at the Marine Fish Lab. After the excursion, partners had the opportunity to taste the oysters, shrimps and mullet grown at the farm.

Florianópolis provides 90% of the oyster production in Brazil and the some AquaVitae partners had the opportunity to visit Paraiso das ostras, one of the farms that grows this species on the final day of the meeting. The farm is located in the south of the island. Carlos H. Araujo and Vinícius Ramos guided attendees through the tour which ended with a testing of local products.