Prologue and context

 

The dynamics of any ecosystem either marine or terrestrial aims at its existence sustained over time keeping high levels of productivity in biological terms.  That idea is funded on the maximum energetic use of any level of its trophic pyramid: a waste produced by some organisms becomes a food source for others and so on until the circle is completely closed. Due to the abundance of resources, all the industrial sectors have been working in the last decades ignoring this guideline. However, in recent years the decline of natural resources along with the negative effect of wastes from companies during their production process on the natural environment has forced to review the traditional productive and economic model because it is unfeasible on the medium term. Thus from many social organisms including companies a new philosophy based on a relatively new term but already well known is emerging: “circular and sustainable economy”. Eventually and simply, it deals about achieving an economic model that works under the same parameters than any ecosystem.

The fishery products extracting and processing industry, widely and historically established in Galicia and Portugal, is aware of this matter and its activity generates a wide range of by-products from very different species and in significant tonnages. These wrongly called by-products contain a big amount of biomolecules and biopolymers with a high potential and applicability in the fields of pharmacology, nutraceutics and biomedicine.

Furthermore marine organisms represent an enormous reservoir of molecules and possibilities practically never-ending and yet to be discovered.  Accordingly, it must be stated that the concept of Valorisation becomes more and more a wider concept to the extent that the ways to obtain benefit from marine organisms are increasing. A definition suitable for the current moment could be:  “To use underused by-products generated in the fishing activity to obtain high added value products and marine organisms that under particular conditions increase their properties in natural environment or become a very useful source of molecules and compounds in certain fields of industry”.

The CVMar+I project, leaded by Prof.  Rui L. Reis from the 3B’s Research Group of the University of Minho, is included into the European Program Interreg for the Cross Border Cooperation Galicia-Portugal 2014-2010. The project started in June 2017 and will finish in December 2019 with a budget assigned of 3.2 million Euros.

The initiative CVMar+I focuses its goals on the valorisation of marine resources and fisheries by-products through different ways –specially the medical one- . It is the last one of a series of European Interreg Cross Border Cooperation and Atlantic Area projects which has benefited a very stable partnership who has been working jointly on this matter since 2006. Therefore, it is not an isolated but linked initiative whose only goal is contributing to the maximum use of marine resources according to the circular economy concept.