|ATLANTIC NETWORK ON GENETIC CONTROL OF FISH AND SEAFOOD LABELLING AND TRACEABILITY
|Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IMM-CSIC), Vigo, Spain
The LABELFISH project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Atlantic Area Programme (€1,256,335) 65% of the total cost (€1,932,823).LABELFISH relates to the labelling of seafood and traceability of fish and seafood, which has been mandatory within the EU since 2005. Full implementation of these rules requires adequate management of traceability information as well as availability of analytical techniques to verify such information. One important aspect of verifying implementation of traceability and labelling legislation is the ability to identify and authenticate biological species. In recent years, a substantial amount of effort has been invested in the development of methods for genetic identification of commercial fish species. However, there is still need to standardize methodologies across European control laboratories, and also to update databases and genetic profiles of commercially relevant species. Doing this will ensure a standardized approach regardless of the country, or laboratory, where the analyses are performed. By setting up a network of laboratories and national control bodies, and standardizing analytical techniques for genetic traceability and labelling of seafood products in the European market, LABELFISH aims to protect European consumers and SMEs involved in fisheries and aquaculture in the Atlantic regions.
Regions of the Atlantic area are characterized by an intense economic and social relationship with marine resources. Most of them are linked with important fishery and aquaculture industries. For these regions, seafood traceability and labelling are essential, as their products may be under threat from low-cost, third country imports. Imports which could potentially be of doubtful origin and/or which may have been handled or produced under inadequate controls.The main objective of LABELFISH is to set up a network of entities interested in developing a common traceability strategy, using standardised and innovative analytical techniques of genetic traceability and labelling of seafood products in the European Atlantic areas. Under this general objective are specific objectives:
I) Analysis of fish traceability and fish labelling in markets of the Atlantic Region. This objective involves the analysis of the implementation of traceability schemes in the seafood industry (fishing fleets, fishing industry and auctions), studies of the state of seafood labelling at auctions and markets, the perception of consumers of seafood traceability and labelling, and the analysis of the effectiveness of the control of labelling by competent authorities. The seafood labelling studies will focus on the most commercially important species in Atlantic area, specifically in the countries involved in the project. Some of these species are cod, tuna, anchovies, ling, sole, monkfish, haddock and hake.
II) Standardization of fish authenticity and genetic traceability methodologies. This objective aims to compare the current techniques used for fish species authentication and control of traceability, and to build a genetic database that will allow harmonization and standardization of methodologies at the European level.
III) Atlantic network for species authenticity and labelling. We aim to establish a network of laboratories, entities, companies with expertise and capacities in fish traceability, seafood labelling and fish authenticity. This network will interact by holding workshops for exchanging of methodologies, personnel and results.
The final objective is to create a framework for the creation of a European network for fish authenticity and control of traceability.Protection of European consumers and SMEs will be achieved by ensuring consumers’ rights to correct product information and by implementing reliable genetic traceability and authentication tools for the protection of market niches.The partners and associated partners involved in the project cover all the Atlantic Regions Area and include all kind of organizations. The Leader, CSIC, is the largest public research organization in Spain and has considerable experience in managing R&D projects. IFREMER, French Institute of Exploitation of the Sea, specially STBM lab promotes seafood development through research projects on food processing, in relation with food quality and safety. INDIGO Rock Marine Station is an Irish Non for profit organization that has been making a valid and valuable contribution to the development of aquaculture both nationally and internationally, through successful participation in research programmes, regional development and training initiatives. Moreover, the University College Dublin is involved as the largest university in the Republic of Ireland, particularly the School of Biology and Environment Science. IPIMAR is the partner from Portugal and acts as counsellor to the national authorities on fisheries and the fishing industry and fishery organizations and is member of a high number of national and international commissions. CAMPDEM BRI, is the UK's largest independent membership-based organisation carrying out research and development for the food and drinks industry worldwide.
Additionally there is the participation of Max Rubner-Institute (MRI), the Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food, from Germany, due to its big influence in the Atlantic Area, sound experience and interest in the goals of the present project.Regarding the associated partners, they are all control authorities, policy makers, protection of the marine resources bodies and public agencies with fish consumption: DEFRA from UK, FROM and "Puesto de inspección Transfronteriza" from Spain, The Service Commun des Laboratoires as the national French service of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment and the Department of Budget, Public Accounts and the Civil Service; and from Ireland, the Bord Lascaigh Mhara (BIM).