Isidro Blanquet | SEA EIGHT | Questionnaire
What are the main outcomes of your work on blue bioeconomy?
I work in marine aquaculture, in the SEA EIGHT group that bases its production on RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture Systems) systems. At SEA EIGHT we produce sole (Solea senegalensis) from egg to market size. Our facilities are prepared with the latest technology in order to ensure the welfare of the fish and maximum sustainability with better use of resources. In our process, we recycle 97% of seawater. Our goal is to produce much more soles than the current 800 tons. Only this way will we be able to guarantee the supply of protein for future generations and reduce overfishing in the oceans.
A project on blue bioeconomy you participated in and that you are proud of
The Rearling project resulted from an enormous will to develop the artificial reproduction of sole (Solea senegalensis) at an industrial level, contributing to overcoming one of the bottlenecks of this industry, promoting the genetic selection of this species and reducing the pressure of fishing for wild broodstock. We have other projects related to the promotion of fish welfare in the RAS systems and I am very proud that this is one of the company’s priorities: to produce in a sustainable way.
The best blue bioeconomy tip you follow on your daily life
Consuming aquaculture fish and explaining to my friends how important and safe it is to consume these products. Not only fish but marine macroalgae are also produced in multitrophic systems. So, I always try to consume marine products without continuing to put pressure on the ocean’s resources.
A course, an event, a meeting, a person who impacted and changed or reinforced your ideas/methods/working procedures – good practices
In 1989, as part of a project for building a Sea bass and Bream hatchery in Peniche, I left for Italy with 10 colleagues from FCUP and ICBAS. For six months we worked intensively in marine aquaculture, in the early 90’s when nothing was known about this activity in Portugal. That time marked my professional path. In fact, I fell in love with this work, which combines technology, nature, the sea, biology, fish, and people.
Maria Teresa Dinis, friend and teacher, is the person who most impressed me in these 30 years as an aquaculture biologist. She’s an example of work ethics, pioneering spirit, discipline, and strength of character, but, above all, I value her for her trust and friendship. Thanks to her, we moved from bucket aquaculture to tank aquaculture.
How do you imagine blue bioeconomy in 30 years? Forecast
Much more responsible and sustainable. I think that the new generations will be much more active in demanding a bioeconomy that is more respectful of the environment and marine resources. 30 years from now, aquaculture will have to play a leading role, with highly sustainable production methods using RAS systems, ensuring animal welfare, with effluent treatment through multi-trophic aquaculture systems and zero waste. Generating value will always be the companies’ goal, but they should not only be rewarded through production volumes, but also for the way in which they produce and how they respect the environment.
The best about working with B2E
The work done by these young and dynamic people, who promote our activity in a happy and responsible way, is surprising.
An idea to improve work with B2E
So far, I haven’t got any suggestions. I think they are a wellspring of ideas; the best idea is to let them do their work.
When you are not working, you are:
I am with family, friends and whenever I can by the sea. But unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m nearly always working.