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From research to higher education, with SUSHIN the step is short

The contamination born from the meeting and exchange of ideas and experiences from different disciplinary fields has helped to generate a Master's degree course on sustainability in aquaculture

17, May 2023

The contamination born from the meeting and exchange of ideas and experiences from different disciplinary fields has contributed to generating a Master's degree course on sustainability in aquaculture. The coordinators Ike Olivotto and Giorgia Gioacchini, lecturers at the Marche Polytechnic University and researchers in the SUSHIN project, and Valentina Cairo, Ager project manager, tell us about this experience.

Professor Olivotto, to cope with the food needs of an ever-growing population, Italian aquaculture will also have to rapidly increase its production of fish, crustaceans and molluscs while remaining competitive in the markets. How will it be possible to face and overcome this challenge?

The FAO estimates that in 2030 fishing will not be able to meet the increasing consumption and farmed fish products will increase from the current 45% to 62% of fish consumed worldwide. The FAO itself has also given precise indications to increase production and the only possible way forward is to adopt farming models based on sustainability as soon as possible, declined in its three main aspects: environmental, economic and social. For several years now, many research centres, including my own university, have been studying and making available to farmers new techniques, knowledge and technologies for the aquaculture sector by applying the parameters of sustainability. These researches are now more than ever aimed at fostering animal welfare by promoting the use of natural products, at reducing the environmental impact of fish farms through multiple strategies, and at fostering high quality standards of the fish product for the benefit of consumers, while guaranteeing a fair income for fish farmers. It is now clear that the expansion of an aquaculture based on sustainability can only take place if the technological innovations produced by research are flanked by new high-profile professionals to facilitate the transfer of these innovations to farmers and to fill the new highly specialised roles that aquaculture needs today. This is why we set up the Master's degree course 'Aquaculture of the future: technological and management innovation for sustainability and profitability', which was realised first and foremost thanks to funding from the Marche Region (FEAMP Programme 2014-2020, Measure 2.50) and to the experience gained with SUSHIN, a research project in which our University was a partner and which aimed to promote the sustainability of trout, sea bass and sea bream farms, the three most farmed species in Italy.

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