The GFCM High-level conference on MedFish4Ever initiatives: Transformative actions to address new challenges took place from October 3-4, 2023 in Malta and offered a fitting occasion to recognize outstanding new work in the Mediterranean in the fields of fishing technology and aquaculture research.
An awards ceremony celebrated the innovation and creativity driving the Mediterranean region’s fishing and aquaculture sectors forward, with initiatives from Croatia, Cyprus, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and the non-governmental organization Global Fishing Watch winning the MedFish4Ever awards for innovative practices in fisheries and aquaculture.
In the category of Innovative practices in aquaculture research, the winner was AquaDeep from Tunisia, with a larvae counting system.
A crucial yet challenging aspect of contemporary aquaculture is the ability to track farmed populations from day zero until the end of their production cycle, and it is at the larval stage that proves particularly difficult. That’s why AquaDeep spent three years working with seabass and seabream hatcheries to engineer a product to assess larval populations qualitatively and quantitatively, ultimately aiming to reduce production costs, minimize impacts on surrounding ecosystems, and increase yield.
This innovative new system uses a combination of sampling and artificial intelligence to accurately count larvae, and, following successful results, the technology is also being adapted for use in later developmental stages. Ideas like this can be rolled out to farms across the Mediterranean.
The winners will go on to present their projects at two key scientific events: the International Symposium on Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (SOFAS 2023) and the GFCM Forum on Fisheries Science in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (Fish Forum 2024).
“It was a real pleasure to be able to give these innovative ideas the public recognition they deserve,” said GFCM executive secretary, Miguel Bernal, who opened the ceremony. “Fishers, fish farmers, scientists and companies are key elements to provide the solutions we need for the sector, and the spirit of collaborative innovation that is being celebrated here is what we need to secure a sustainable future for all.”