Industry and academia join forces to innovate the aquaculture sector | Marine@Ugent

Industry and academia join forces to innovate the aquaculture sector

The ultimate goal for UGent is the establishment of a (multispecies) hatchery pilot installation, which can stimulate further innovation and the development of more large-scale hatchery initiatives.

Various valorisation options are available for the participating companies:

Aquaculture Ostend has been breeding oysters in the Spuikom (Ostend) for a long time. They would like to expand their activities by setting up their own hatchery and nursery activities for the breeding of young oysters.

Colruyt Group continues to invest in the local production of sustainable seafood, both on land and at sea.

DEME expects that offshore structures will become increasingly multifunctional and that aquaculture has a high potential to complement DEME's offshore activities.

UGent spin-off IMAQUA provides high-quality testing services to the global shrimp feed industry for application in the development, validation and valorisation of shrimp health products. The current tools are based on Penaeus vannamei shrimp. Within this project, new disease testing tools will be developed to expand IMAQUA's portfolio. By breeding test animals itself, the company will also become independent from international imports.

Proviron, with a department in Ostend, produces various microalgae in its state-of-the-art bioreactors in Hemiksem. In this project, the company wants to differentiate its algae portfolio for the hatchery market and create new business opportunities, while further valorising the company's extensive expertise in algae biomass production.

SIOEN develops specialised technical textiles and has been experimenting with two-dimensional substrates for seaweed cultivation in recent years (ATSEA project). SIOEN ontwikkelt gespecialiseerd technisch textiel en heeft de afgelopen jaren geëxperimenteerd met tweedimensionale substraten voor zeewierkweek (ATSEA-project). Further investments in the development of these bio-based and biodegradable substrates will be complemented by the support of hatchery initiatives that can provide suitable starting material and sowing techniques.


BlueMarine³.Com runs from 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2022. After the first six months some nice results can be presented. The UGent laboratory for Phycology, in collaboration with SIOEN, is developing a collection of strains of commercial seaweeds. This collections has been expanded to include local strains of Saccharina, Undaria, Porphyra and Ulva from the North Sea and Oosterschelde. Work is underway on the life cycle management of the various species.

The UGent Laboratory for Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center (ARC), IMAQUA and Proviron work together to breed shrimp larvae. IMAQUA breeds parent animals under optimal conditions and allows them to reproduce. These larvae are used for test by the ARC Laboratory. The microalgae, cultivated by Proviron, serve as the main food source for these shrimp larvae. This led to the first production of 50,000 shrimp on Flemish soil.

The ARC Laboratory is currently developing a first test set-up of a recirculation system for shellfish farming. By reusing the water and have a minimum of water refreshment, the system should ensure a stable breeding environment.


BlueMarine³.Com is a collaboration between:

  • UGent - Laboratory for Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center
  • UGent - Phycology Laboratory
  • UGent - Laboratory for Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology (Ghentoxlab),
  • Aquacultuur Oostende
  • DEME
  • Colruyt Group
  • Proviron
  • Sioen


With the support of the Flemish government - Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO)

Contact person at UGent: Margriet Drouillon, business developer of the BLUeGent consortium


Link to The Blue Cluster