We propose a two years work, aiming at optimising sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus rearing, in order to enrich pre-existing aquaculture farms (based on sea bass, bream, and/or different bivalves). Sea urchin breeding will be performed starting from adult specimens obtained from capture. Sea urchin roe (gonads) are first class food and are worldwide commercialised. This project arises from the increasing demand of sea urchin roes and is addressed to the feasibility of sea urchin aquaculture, brood stock and gonad improvement. In the last fifteen years, the aquaculture of sea urchin has been carried out by non-European factories, mainly in Japan, USA and Canada. Unsexed whole sea urchins or their processed gonads are shipped primarily to Japanese markets and to markets in France, Belgium, Greece, Italy and Turkey. The demand in these European Countries is at present partially fulfilled by a high fishing pressure on wild sea urchins, that in some areas (France, Greece) are at risk and protected species.
A number of European and ICPC SMEs, dealing with aquaculture, are strongly interested to carry on a research focused at 2 main objectives: 1-to insert sea urchin aquaculture in their activities, in order to enrich and diversify their production, that is already going on with different marine species. 2- to obtain an environmentally friendly expansion of their activity, in order to increase sustainability and prevent environmental impact. The involved SMEs aim at obtaining know how and possibly patents to be invested in their activity, and need RTD activities and training of operators for overcoming problems and enhance competitively.