Aquaculture for all

Modern Aquaculture Boosts French Investment

Technology & equipment Economics +2 more

FRANCE Frances focus on environmentally friendly fishing, supported by its cutting-edge research into aquaculture, have helped boost investment in this sector by international companies.

The Grenelle de la Mer series of round-table talks about issues relating to the sea, which was launched by the French government on 27 February 2009 (with work to be completed by the end of this summer), is bringing together all the relevant players to define “a national strategy for the sea and coast”. A government bill based on this work will contribute to the development of sustainable fishing practices.

France controls the world’s second largest maritime area, covering one-tenth of the world´s coral reefs and parts of three great oceans (Atlantic, Pacific and Indian).

Algal culture, together with fish, oyster and mussel farming, account for around 30 per cent of the volume of aquacultural products consumed in France each year. The proportion of products coming from farms rises to 80 per cent for shellfish. France is ranked second in Europe for trout production, with 43,000 tonnes of trout produced each year. Marine aquaculture also produces bream, sea bass, turbot and salmon (reaching more than 8,000 tonnes in total, including 4,000 tonnes of sea bass), as well as molluscs (13,000 tonnes of oysters and 60,000 tonnes of mussels).

Several of France’s oyster-farming companies have a long-standing tradition of exporting. The most innovative companies include Britexa in Chateaulin (Brittany), a small company with eight employees, which sells crepidula – a shellfish which is very popular in China, as well as in Scandinavia and Russia.

Ifremer, the French public-sector marine research institute, is structured around five centres located in Boulogne, Brest, Nantes, Toulon and Tahiti, and it also has 26 sites along the coastlines of mainland France and French overseas territories. Thanks to an annual budget of €235 million, Ifremer is at the leading edge of aquaculture research, providing operators with essential information on the yields for marine farms, as well as the fight against diseases that may affect resources.

Powerful value-added innovation clusters are supporting this research and contributing to the development of new fishing-based products. The Aquimer cluster, based along the French stretch of the English Channel and the North Sea, has launched Seamineroil, a €2 million programme to develop new marine products. The Brittany Marine cluster, which focuses on the environment in collaboration with experts from leading aquatic laboratories, is developing the Ormeaux project, focusing on abalone – a valuable and rare mollusc, which is highly sought after on the Japanese and Chinese markets. The PACA Marine cluster, for its part, has launched the Aquapecten applied-research programme to establish a protocol for farming Mediterranean scallop.

David Appia, Chairman and CEO of the Invest in France Agency, says, “France offers a very favourable climate and ecological conditions to attract aquaculture businesses unable to find suitable sites in their own countries. France’s innovation clusters represent a range of attractive business ecosystems in which innovative products can be developed, against the backdrop of the Grenelle de la Mer round-table talks which are opening up new prospects for this sector.”

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