Increasing Echinoderm Value Chains

Sea stars, Sea urchins and Sea cucumbers are abundant marine biomass resources that are underdeveloped and underutilised. Throughout Europe, these echinoderms are wastefully exploited, disregarded and discarded. Researchers and industry partners in the InEVal project will advance high quality bioeconomic products and services from echinoderm biomass. InEVal addresses societal demand for new solutions to current challenges for human food, aquafeeds and ecosystem services by:

  • Up-valuing sea stars from Irish and German inshore shellfish industries to processed supplements for salmon, shrimp and seabass diets using milling, washing and enzymatic fermentation.
  • Improving low-value sea urchins from heavily impacted sea urchin barrens to high quality food for humans for high value niche markets in novel land-based enhancement systems under optimal holding conditions. Investigating novel use for remaining unused biomass.
  • Seeding and harvesting sea cucumber for site remediation at nutrient-enriched aquaculture sites. Valuable and sustainable site remediation service is followed by use as a high value human food.

The marine bioeconomy requires new processes and products that originate from innovation along entire value chains. This in turn will create and add value to underutilised available marine bioresources. An extraordinary biomass resource in marine habitats is present in the form of echinoderms, many of which are scarcely utilised in European marine environments and, if so, at zero to low value-addition. The InEVal project approaches diverse value chains related to increasing and adding value to echinoderm biomass to create new products, processes and industries. In doing so the InEVal project aims to explore three echinoderm species, each of which will be developed towards three highly diverse product and service end-points;

A) Diets for aquaculture animals; B) Human food sources; C) Marine bioremediation services

The InEVal project does this together with an optimal consortium of research organisations, higher education institutes, state agencies and established commercial industry partners. Each of these committed partners are key actors along the entire value chain while linking state of the art research with industry and national institutions to promote, develop and implement long-lasting cooperation at a transnational level beyond the InEVal project.