Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) is identified as one of the most promising candidates for marine aquaculture in Europe, with several characteristics that make it an interesting species for commercial growers and European consumers. The species has tremendous potential as an aquaculture species but many of its attributes are currently unexploited utilize. European production of turbot has been increasing during the last 20 years from about 100 to over 11000 metric tons. However, in order to expand the production beyond this level, new bio- and technological solutions are urgently needed.
The biological and technological focus in the present project will be on improving the rearing environment, optimized slaughter methods and improved fish welfare and quality of the produced products. We also include a comprehensive assessment of the economic ramifications of the proposed optimized rearing. These measures are all aimed at improving productivity of the turbot farms leading to more cost effective production and better use of the resources involved. By addressing the whole value chain it is foreseen that the current proposal may lay the foundation for more cost-effective production of turbot in Europe.
The approach of the project is multidisciplinary where the Project Consortium will work with those scientific and practical problems considered most important for future sustainable expansion by the SME proposers. This project brings together a balanced and integrated consortium of fish farmers and scientists, with wide project experience, in a number of interrelated disciplines; growth physiology, immunology/health, welfare, slaughter methods, quality aspects and fish economics; all concentrating on improving the culture of turbot. To increase the general applicability of the MAXIMUS proposal, the innovative slaughter methods will also be tested for sole (Solea solea, S. senegalensis). Sole is a promising European aquaculture species, cultured side-by-side with turbot facing similar technological challenges.