The European mollusc sector is well positioned worldwide providing work for over 8,000 companies, primarily small ones. Mollusc production in Europe is mainly limited to mussels, oysters, and clams.
The sector depends in great measure on the quality of the surrounding environment and the occurrence of diseases. The mortality associated with pathogens such as virus, bacteria, and parasites (protozoon), weaken the sustainability of the production.
The goal of the European VIVALDI (Preventing and mitigating farmed bivalve diseases) project is to increase the sustainability and the competitiveness of the European mollusc industry by developing tools and approaches for a better prevention and control of diseases that affect marine bivalves.
The project is structured into six technical work packages that include: the study of pathogen diversity and their life cycles, defence mechanisms of bivalves against pathogens, and genetic improvement as a tool to increase the resistance against diseases.
The aim is to understand the interactions between the animals and their surroundings to then optimise the production through a more efficient management and health control.
IRTA participates in all the work packages from the Sant Carles de la Ràpita centre (Catalonia, Spain).
It is in charge of coordinating the follow-up of the study cases representing the main areas of bivalve production. Furthermore, cultivation management techniques will be used to improve the production and control of recurrent massive mortality in our Pacific oyster farms due to the effects of the herpesvirus.
The VIVALDI project will last for four years (Horizonte 2020) and is coordinated by IFREMER. Twenty-one partners, primarily from European countries (from public and private sectors) are part of the project, each representing the diversity of the European shellfish industry.