Center for Sustainable Entrepreneurship (CenSE) - Odisee
Center for Sustainable Entrepreneurship (CenSE) - Odisee

Taste, well-being and cultivation of crayfish

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CenSE researchers: Guy Durinck, Hilde Vervaecke, Jurgen Adriaen, Stef Aerts, Thomas Abeel, Walter Himpe, Wouter Meeus

Contact: Thomas Abeel

Duration: September 2013 – September 2016

Financing: PWO

Partners: Guy Durinck Laboratory for Light technology, faculty IIW, KU Leuven, Stefan d'Hulster, Katja Wydhooge

Within the first PWO project that focused on the cultivation of European crayfish (Astacus astacus) in recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS), a whole series of breeding parameters were investigated, with an emphasis on the juvenile phase of the breeding. New questions arise from the observations from the experiments, the experiences during the first years of the first PWO project, and the consultation in the Steering Committee.

An important interim conclusion in the first PWO project was that the success of the European crayfish on the (niche) market will largely be determined by the taste of the product. That is why this track is being further elaborated in the present continuation project, making use of crawfish of consumption size. We think of the influence of feed, growth speed (temperature) and stress on taste development. In this way we will be able to identify to what extent the taste can be influenced via these parameters.

Knowledge of the breeding of European crayfish in terms of consumption is limited, mainly due to the longer duration of the experiments. In this project we also want to monitor the entire production cycle, in order to be able to make a well-founded statement about the economic aspects of complete cultivation; this is done in collaboration with an entrepreneur. The first project is still ongoing, so the profitability study has not yet been completed.

During the experiments of the first PWO project it also appeared that the sloughing (and therefore the growth) of the different individuals can be very asynchronous. This has disadvantages for both zoo technical performance and well-being (cannibalism, mortality, damage). Research into the effect of light and other culture parameters on bevel synchronization and the evaluation of stress during cultivation aims at both simultaneous economic and ethical optimization of cultivation.

Ethology and well-being is one of the basic spearheads of the Agro & Bio research core and this theme will be made explicit in the present project. We want the "full story to be right" given the importance of this was clearly demonstrated by the economic aspect of the first PWO. In that story the technical as well as the "soft" (welfare) aspects are important. This component is woven into the various work packages.

Using the Aqua-ERF's lobster breeding system, various parameters can be examined simultaneously or in parallel. For this the system can be divided into different parallel, independent systems. By purchasing lobsters of different sizes, we can also carry out experiments with lobsters of consumption size early in the project.

Publications that resulted from the project:

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