On World Ocean Day, we look to the future, and ensure that we are working towards sustainable use of our shared resources and supporting youth blue literacy so that the next generation will be well prepared to care for our seas.
Last week, Partner AquaBioTech Group held a sustainable seafood hackathon for our youngest and most precious audience. A group of nine students from St Aloysius College, Malta, along with their two teachers, were invited to their research facilities in Mosta, Malta, to learn more about seafood, its production as wild-caught or farmed fish, health and environmental issues, transport and food safety and trust. The event was held in collaboration with the FishEUTrust Malta Living Lab, the Blue Schools Med programme and European Maritime Day In My Country.
The fisheries and aquaculture expert team- including Dr Adrian Love, Sean Dimech, Justin Galea, and Alex Boyle- covered all bases, from why seafood is healthy to how can we farm and catch fish, all while taking into account the sustainability, circularity and environmental issues. The students were the audience and reviewers for the first premier of the iFishIENCi animation “Smart Solutions: Recirculating Aquaculture Systems” which has since been launched to the public on YouTube .
The enthusiastic participants already had a very good knowledge of seafood through their ongoing Blue Schools Med engagement and were very active in giving their perspectives and opinions. They co-created interesting communication materials with the scientists to disseminate their knowledge on seafood issues, under the mentorship of marketing guru Jolanda Viviers (AquaBioTech Group) and mentors Dannie O’Brien (iFishIENCi) and Stela Karovic (FishEUTrust).
The majority of the students said they consume seafood and that they like it, including in traditional and in more international and contemporary preparations. Their favourite topics were seafood appearance, and the difference of it between farmed and caught fish; why bycatch is harmful to the environment; and how to sustainably catch fish using new fishing gears. The students presented their own creative communications on these topics to the expert scientists, and then have taken these back to their school to present to their other student colleagues and spread the word!
After the presentations ended, the students tried seaweed chips and snacks, which were surprisingly yummy, and were led on a tour of ABT Innovia research facilities, where they could see the Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (SmartRAS) and different fish species which can be grown in them, followed by a prize ceremony where they all received ocean related prizes.
FishEUTrust Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme under grant agreement no. 101060712. This activity was held as part of the Consumer Stakeholder Outreach and Cocreation activities of iFishIENCi H2020 (European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 818036) and organised as part of the European Maritime Day In My Country event program. We are grateful to the Blue Schools Med (ERASMUS+ project KA201-92BE234C) team, Prof. Mark Mifsud and Prof. Alan Deidun at the University of Malta, for their support in this event and would like to thank also the enthusiastic students and teachers at St Aloysius College.