Integrating Innovative Approaches for Competitive and Sustainable Performance across the Mediterranean Aquaculture Value Chain

Project Overview

PerformFISH At a Glance


Consumer Driven Production: Integrating Innovative Approaches for Competitive and Sustainable Performance across the Mediterranean Aquaculture Value Chain

Funding Programme

Horizon 2020 (Societal Challenges)


Research and Innovation Action (RIA)

Total Budget


EC Contribution



May 2017 – April 2022 (60 months)


University of Thessaly (UTH)


28 partners from ten countries

Project Objectives

PerformFISH has the direct support and endorsement of the Mediterranean Marine Fish Farming (MMFF) industry, with producers’ associations from Greece, Spain, Italy, France and Croatia directly involved as partners in the project. Their membership represents 92.8% of all sea bream and sea bass production in the EU. Their involvement will ensure that the needs of the sector are met and knowledge is transferred effectively to their members. PerformFISH will work to ensure sustainable growth of the MMFF industry, based on consumer perceptions and real market requirements. It aims to support fish farms to operate not only in optimal economic and environmental conditions, but also in a socially and culturally responsible manner.

Specific Objectives

Scientific and Technical

  • To develop customised genomic tools for marker-assisted selection, validate and apply them in on-going industrial breeding programmes
  • To validate novel larvae rearing protocols based on early programming strategies that exploit species maximum biological capacity and improve juvenile quality
  • To determine optimal product quality and performance metrics for different stages of the production cycle, construct growth trajectory curves to predict performance and establish management tools to improve production predictability
  • To develop sustainable, cost-effective fish feeds to meet the updated nutritional requirements for consumers and markets throughout the production cycle and support enhanced growth performance, robustness and welfare
  • To optimise feed management through advanced modelling and technology development and to estimate cage biomass in production systems
  • To advance epidemiological mapping and molecular tools to implement a multidisciplinary integrated diagnostic approach, and to test and validate effective preventive measures (vaccines, prophylactics, nutraceuticals) to reduce mortalities and alleviate negative impacts of stressors
  • To establish a validated framework of Operational Welfare Indicators
  • To combine new knowledge on marker-assisted selection, rearing practices, feeding strategies and disease management into integrated efficient industrial solutions applicable across the complex production landscape of European MMFF

Benchmarking and Certification

  • To establish a quantitative benchmarking system based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to cover all aspects of the MMFF performance and to serve as an effective management tool
  • To establish a framework for a European juvenile quality certificate
  • To develop a code of conduct, implement good practices, and effectively communicate them to raise consumer awareness and advocate social and environmental responsibility
  • To ensure the PerformFISH project legacy resonates beyond the funded duration of the project by drawing-up and implementing common MMFF strategic actions and measures

Consumer and Society

  • To capitalise on the existing fish food health claims and design innovative and smart marketing actions to address consumer desires and market needs, thereby increasing confidence in the activities and products of the MMFF industry
  • To construct a generic branding framework for a “Made in EU” MMFF product label to accommodate the standards of product quality, environmental and social responsibility
  • To carry out capacity building activities (targeting technical, vocational and tertiary levels) that ensure transfer of best practice, create conditions for uptake and application of competitive knowledge by the MMFF, and build a competent, versatile workforce contributing to Blue Growth
  • To effectively link to the relevant EU policy frameworks (Common Fisheries Policy, BLUEMED Initiative, Marine Strategic Framework Directive), contributing knowledge and recommendations for appropriate policy making in relation to marine aquaculture development.

Expected Results

Increased competitiveness and improved consumer and society perceptions of MMFF by enabling the industry to adopt a holistic approach to:

  • produce safe and healthy food with a low ecological footprint
  • provide employment and trade in rural, peripheral and coastal regions
  • reduce European dependency on importation of seafood

Substantial improvement of the performance of the focal fish species through the formation and measurement of sector accepted KPIs

Consolidated and widely-promoted best practice in fish farming through:

  • endorsed certification and quality assurance
  • development of human capacity building
  • engagement with consumers and societal actors to promote MMFF practices and products
Page updated: January 21, 2020