Coinciding with Aquaculture Day celebrations on 30 November, researchers from the Faculty of Veterinarian Sciences of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University of Valencia presented the results of the third edition of the Parapez project, which aims to evaluate the transmission of parasitism in fish that are grown or wild specimens in the sea farms and their surrounding area. The SAIGAS group of the CEU UCH develops this project in aquaculture farms located in the open sea, in waters of the Canary Islands and the Valencian Community, and is backed by the Biodiversity Foundation and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, through the Pleamar Programme, co-financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. As well as presenting the results of the Parapez programme, the CEU UCH held several conferences and exhibitions to raise awareness on the importance of the aquaculture sector and utilizing marine resources for global nutrition.
11,000 underwater images
In this third edition of the Parapez study, obtaining nocturnal underwater images in the open sea made it possible to complete the study of the wild fauna that surrounds the aquaculture farms that took part in the study. As well as the common species in these surroundings, such as the boga, round sardinella or leerfish, researchers have identified other species of interest, such as the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the red tuna (Thunnus thynnus) or the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), as well as different species of rays.
Regarding the parasitological analysis, the research team of the CEU UCH took 533 samples, 194 of which were taken from hatcheries of farmed fish: sea bream and bass. Another 121 samples were obtained from fish purchased from different fish mongers in the Valencian Community, and 218 from species of fish that live around the hatcheries of the marine farms.
According to the principal investigator of the study and CEU UCH professor Jordi López Ramón, “the result of analysing these samples has revealed a low prevalence of nematods, parasites that are found in the digestive system of several wild samples, both in the samples from the fish mongers and in the wild fish that live around the studied hatcheries. In the case of aquaculture animals, this type of parasites has not been detected. This study of the parasitic fauna of wild and grown species makes it possible to guarantee biodiversity and the preservation of wild marine fauna, as well as the food safety of the obtained aquaculture products, while also improving the health and well-being of the fish grown in farms in the open sea.”
The multidisciplinary team of researchers of the SAIGAS group of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University who took part in the Parapez 3 project include doctors Jordi López, head of the project, Juan Manuel Lomillos, as the coordinator, Elena Corcuera Martínez, Candela Doménech Zapata, Víctor Manuel Lizana, Jordi Agulló, Juan Manuel Lomillos, Jesús Cardells, Marta Muñóz Vaquero and doctor Samantha Moratal. Also collaborating in the project are the Group for the Health Defence of Aquaculture in the Valencian Community (ADS ACUIVAL), of the Canary Islands (ADS ACCAN) and the Corporate Association of Aquaculture of Spain (APROMAR).