Thematic and policy relevance
Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing foodsectors in the world. Due to scarce resources, significant growth in this sector is possible, above all in closed loop aquaculture. The systemic role of microbial communities in these are becoming increasingly important. Novel biofilm and microbial inhibiting enzymes and antiviral compounds from microalgae for the development of prebiotics as a natural precautionary treatment method are essential for a sustainable health management in aquacultures.
AquaHealth will make new progress towards a sustainable and competitive Blue Bioeconomy in Europe. The progress that AquaHealth will make on the understanding and exploitation of microalgae health-controlling properties in aquaculture will constitute new knowledge for Blue Bioeconomy value chains and in particular contribute to production of safe, nutritious and valuable bio-products. Moreover, in AquaHealth the system-thinking-based approach to technology development and assessment will allow to anticipate the consequences of introducing new methods or products from a wider value chain perspective.
The objectives of AquaHealth address all steps along the Blue Bioeconomy value chain, from biomass to products, markets and consumers:
- Exploration of aquatic bioresources: Microalgae microbiomes as a minor explored source will be exploited in terms of bioactive compounds revealing positive health effectsin aquaculture.
- Sustainable production and processing: Known cultivation and downstream processing techniques will be improvedand a sustainable process development supported.
- Product innovation and differentiation: Newly developed feed supplements based on the bioactive effects of microalgae microbiomes will be developed.
- Market and socioeconomic aspects: A multilevel prospective technology assessment will imbed the project into socioeconomic and market contexts.
Based on the Sustainable Development Goals published by the United Nations  and the EU Sustainable Development Strategy  regarding sustainable development, national strategies to reach the goals were elaborated from the member states. AquaHealth addresses multiple strategy statements of the international [6,7] and national policies from partner countries [8-11]:
Bioeconomy – Exploration of natural bioactive molecules from renewable and sustainable aquatic biomass without harmful byproducts.
Sustainability – Provide natural health treatment from natural resources for application in aquacultures reducing artificial products used.
Environment – Prevent seas from overfishing by enhanced aquaculture production and protect aquacultures from newly upcoming multi-resistant pathogens caused by wide application of antibiotics.
International cooperation – Promotion of international cooperation in research and development, industry and higher education in terms of expertise integration, improved R&D resources and a multinational orientation of the project objectives.
Mobility and capacity building – Dissemination of activities and knowledge transfer by an open communication concept addressing several target groups.Stimulation of further research projects by involving third parties.
Gender balance and involvement of early stage researchers– Encouragement of gender-balanced approach and involvement of young scientists in the project;
Industrial orientation – Supporting the development of SME (project partner Sea & Sun Technology ltd.); Involvement of industry experts related to aquaculture, microalgae cultivation and feed production at early stage (Bremnes Seashore AS, Nofitech AS, Gesellschaftfür Marine AquakulturmbH, AmandusKahl GmbH & Co. KG, DevexVerfahrenstechnik GmbH);
Responsible consumption and production – Promotion of public awareness on responsible consumption and production; Supporting a more sustainable and trustworthy aquaculture.
 United Nations, Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: A/RES/70/1; 2015.
 European Union, New European Consensus on Development – ‚Our world, our dignity, our future‘; 2017.
 Bundesregierung Deutschland, Deutsche Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie: Aktualisierung 2018. Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung, Berlin; 2018.
 BMBF, BMEL, Bioeconomy in Germany: Opportunities for a bio-based and sustainable future; 2015.
 Government of Norway, Norway’s follow-up of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals; 2016.
 Danmarks Regeringen, Handlingsplan for FN’s verdensmål: Danmarks opfølgning på FN’s verdensmål for bæredygtig udvikling; 2017.