The French cluster established in 1999 helps the industry respond to the increasing seafood demand. It also has the objective of fostering the competitiveness of the active companies in the industry and put the aquatic products at the heart of future industries by boosting innovation.
The cluster can contribute as a partner to European projects with its 20-year expertise and network. Indeed, it gathers complementary capacities including research stakeholders, industry, policy makers, professional bodies, all working on the valorisation of aquatic products. In particular, it brings together over 170 members, of which more than 60 are SMEs.
The French cluster offers its expertise to projects in several sectors including fisheries, aquaculture, food processing and packaging, sustainable development and marine research.
In the framework of the new BBI work plan, the Interreg funding and the upcoming H2020 calls, the cluster is now looking for partners that can be clusters from other countries, or other organisations with similar or complementary activities, sharing a common interest in a specific blue growth-related technology, domain or value chain, for example, eco-efficient aquaculture or seafood by-products. Due its geographical situation, the cluster is more focused on activities related to the English Channel, the Atlantic and the North Sea basins. However, it also includes stakeholders working in the Mediterranean Sea and international waters.
It deals with 3 main themes:
. Sustainable management of marine resources (fishery, aquaculture)
. Change of the fundamentals of the seafood industry (new technologies and business approaches)
. Valorisation of seafood products in future alimentation
Some of the specific challenges the cluster is facing and actively working on include:
- Extracting new and better ingredients from fish/algae for the creation of new products (cosmetics, pharmaceutics, etc.);
- Developing more sustainable fishing gears and technology;
- Finding new proteins and lipids sources for fish feed;
- Prevention and management of fish illness;
- Emergence of new technologies available to the whole industry for water treatment, process efficiency, logistics and packaging, etc.
- Supporting SMEs with their digital transformation process in order to keep their competitiveness.
The cluster's expertise it is keen to bring to European projects:
• identifying targeted stakeholders to joint or support the project
• drawing on the technical, economical and legal aspects of the sustainable exploitation of aquatic products thanks to its monitoring centre
• organising working groups and thematic training workshops
• facilitating best practices exchanges
• implementing dissemination activities
• supporting its network with project management
• developing training and innovation opportunities for its network
It is looking to join existing consortia, bringing its specific expertise under a research cooperation agreement in the scope of European projects.