Published 25/10/2022

The BIOGEARS workshop took place at Aquaculture Europe 2022 on 29th September in Rimini, Italy. It aimed to bring stakeholders together to present key results and discuss trends, opportunities, challenges, and barriers to implementing biogears in the mussel and seaweed sector in Europe. The session was attended by representatives from Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Portugal and Norway, so a wide perspective of European viewpoints and market types were represented. The session was also recorded and the presentation is available to view here:

The workshop opened with an overview of the project, its partners, objectives, and the challenges that we are responding to. It was noted that aquaculture has huge potential to meet growing seafood demand; and that the mussel and seaweed sectors are adequate candidate species for the offshore expansion of the sector. However, growth in this industry will require the need for more ropes to be produced. Commercial ropes are currently 100% petrol-based (non-biodegradable) and relying on producing more of these ropes could in turn contribute to plastic waste and pollution in the marine environment. BIOGEARS aims to provide the European aquaculture sector with biobased ropes for mussel and seaweed production and to have a highly reduced carbon footprint along the whole value chain.

Project partners shared some key project results including some details of the prototype rope created; findings from the sea trials that took place for one year in different environments including high-energy longline, low-energy raft and proof of concept IMTA; and the results to date on the sustainability assessment, covering the technical tests (including durability test and degradation test for different environments) and environmental tests (including biodegradability, disintegration and Life Cycle Assessment tests).

After the presentation of relevant project results, there was time for interaction and discussions with the workshop participants. There were two breakout sessions during the workshop. The first breakout session was regarding opportunities for implementation, stakeholders were asked their views on the Pros, Cons and Opportunities for implementation of the biogears within Europe, considering Technical, Environmental and Economic aspects. The second breakout session was related to the discussion of the BIOGEARS value chain that has been developed as part of the project. Workshop participants were then asked to consider the Value Chain and identify Gaps, Drivers and Important Stakeholders within it.

A full workshop report is available to read here. There are online forms available on the project website for stakeholders to give their feedback on opportunities for implementation, please complete the forms.

Last edited 25/10/2022

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