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Research & technological development to improve economic profitability and environmental Sustainability of sea Urchin farming (RESURCH)
Start date: Jan 1, 2014, End date: Dec 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Sea urchin roe (gonad) is consumed worldwide, and is considered a luxury product which sells for lucrative prices in a number of markets. Because the demand for sea urchin roe - called “uni” in sushi bars - has grown dramatically over the past decade, many traditional fisheries have been heavily overfished and subsequently virtually depleted of sea urchins.Because of its great commercial value and it limited supply due to overfishing, there has been much interest in the production of sea urchins through aquaculture. For these reason there is a general perception within the sector for a need to innovate to meet the following the increasing demand for sea urchin roe suitable for European and international markets, the need to reduce harvesting pressure on wild populations, making sea urchin aquaculture profitable.The technology for maintaining urchin broodstocks, spawning, larval rearing and the production of high quality roe product has been well established. However, practical knowledge regarding the grow out phase (from juvenile to market size) which is the most expensive and time consuming production activity, is lagging behind.This proposal directly addresses an industry indentified bottleneck in the adoption of echinoculture by the European aquaculture industry.For these reasons, RESURCH, a 24 months project, is proposed to further develop the technology required to make commercial sea urchin production a reality across Europe. The project will use cutting edge research from leaders in the field to address industry defined bottlenecks in sea urchin aquaculture. The proposed project will enhance the competitiveness and profitability of the Partner SMEs. An additional benefit of the enhancement of sea urchin aquaculture will be the possibility to reduce the harvesting pressure on wild stocks (presently occurring in a number of European countries as well as other countries around the world) to cope with increasing market demand.
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