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AQUACULTURE

Many fish stocks are currently overexploited, and aquaculture can contribute to preserve the marine resources. Research in Aquaculture presently covers production of all aquatic organisms, such as algae, fish and invertebrates, related directly or indirectly to human consumption or, for example, with fish restocking. This session is intended to focus on the areas of nutrition, reproduction, environmental conditions and aquaculture, effects of aquaculture on the environment and optimization of rearing techniques and identification of bottlenecks in the cultivation of new fish species.

BIODIVERSITY, CONSERVATION AND COASTAL MANAGEMENT

The oceans occupy more than 70% of the earth’s surface and 95% of the biosphere, and marine and coastal environments contain diverse habitats that host 32 of the 34 known phyla on Earth. Besides, marine fish and invertebrates are among the last sources of wild food on the planet. Moreover, life in our seas produces a third of the oxygen that we breathe, and moderates global climatic change. There is a broad recognition that the seas face unprecedented human-induced threats from industries such as fishing and transportation, the effects of waste disposal, excess nutrients from agricultural runoff, and the introduction of exotic species. An efficient protection and preservation of ecosystems in oceans and seas are vital to limit human-caused damage to marine ecosystems, and in restoring damaged marine ecosystems. Furthermore, the coastal zone is a dynamic equilibrium area of natural change and of increasing human use. They occupy less than 15% of the Earth’s land surface; yet accommodate more than 40% of the world population. With three-quarters of the world population expected to reside in the coastal zone by 2025, human activities originating from this small land area will impose an inordinate amount of pressures on the global system. Along with the expected sea level rise this will be a challenge to coastal management.

BLUE BIOTECH

The ocean covers three-quarters of the earth and its biological knowledge remains largely unknown. The view of several researchers that some answers to the most challenging problems in the health and economic areas may lie underwater makes us believe in an imminent blue biotech revolution. Research in marine biotechnology has already produced some antibiotics, antiviral agents, antitumor compounds and nutritional supplements, but much more bioactive compounds are still to be found. Another example of marine biotechnology research with direct implications on economy was the increase of aquaculture productivity by the use of molecular biology techniques. These two few examples agree with IMMR 2016 view that marine biotechnology is one area of research with high potential. The aim of this panel in IMMR 2016 is not only to present new results of some marine biotechnology projects, but also to identify new targets that require further study.

FISHERIES AND MANAGEMENT

It is well known that many biological marine resources, mainly fish, have been overexploited during the last decades, leading to the decline of fish stock. This decrease leads to the diminishing of biodiversity, as well as to unbalanced ecosystems. The FAO code of conduct for responsible fisheries suggests that ‘knowledge of the status and trends of capture fisheries and fishery resources… is a key to sound policy-making and responsible fisheries management’. Thus, fisheries research concerns issues such as practices and management, its consequences, as well as aquaculture alternatives. This research aims to establish both past and present trends and expected future developments in fisheries resources, production, utilization and trade.

SEAFOOD TECHNOLOGY

The seafood and seafood products are among the most traded food commodities and there is an increasing concern in their quality and safety. Nowadays, the consumer demands for safe food products that retain their natural flavor, color, texture, contain fewer additives, and minimal processing technologies are being applied to several types of food including seafood. The safety and effectiveness of minimal processing depends on the use of novel preservation technologies. Technologies that increase the shelf life of the products, adding value, are a strategy for a successful and sustainable industry. Quality and safety require rapid, sensitive and specific methodologies for its assurance.

MARINE INVADERS – ASSESSMENT AND IMPACTS ON AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS

A variety of non-indigenous species (NIS), introduced as a result of human activities, are causing global and paramount economic and ecological problems in aquatic environments. Although recognized as great threats to natural communities and seriously compromising ecosystem services, sometimes NIS may represent useful resources. If explored, this action may represent a valid mitigation procedure to control the presence and abundance of some NIS. Under the framework of EU’s project AMALIA, this session aims to discuss the last findings concerning technics used to detect this kind of biological pollution, quantify them, but also to address innovative methods used to measure the negative and positive impact of invasive species on the recipient environment (e.g., competition for space, interference on ecosystems food web, new resource item), as well as means to use invasive species information for a better use of this potential resource and/or mitigation. High impact and quality works presented in this session will be further encouraged to submit their research to Ecological Indicators Journal “Marine Invaders – assessment and impact on aquatic ecosystems” Special Issue (SI).

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