In the presence of local elected officials, Benoît Vallet, Director General of ANSES, and Hassane Sadok, President of ULCO, signed the agreement on 13 July in Boulogne-sur-Mer during the Fête de la Mer (Festival of the Sea), in which the two organisations were involved.
The partnership between ULCO and ANSES aims to improve scientific knowledge on fishery and aquaculture products, from fishing net to fork. It will focus on the following themes:
- the safety of fishery products, including the study of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms and parasites present in the marine ecosystem,
- how production practices affect the nutritional quality and safety of food, and the economic impact of these practices on the production sectors,
- the effects of human activity on ecosystems and the quality of marine products, with a particular focus on nano- and microplastics,
- the implementation of more environmentally friendly techniques for producing fishery and aquaculture products, and the health impact of these new practices.
A partnership driven by the teams in Boulogne-sur-Mer
The teams most involved in the partnership are based in Boulogne-sur-Mer. They include the Bacteriology and Parasitology of Fishery and Aquaculture Products (B3PA) unit and the Physico-chemistry of Fishery and Aquaculture Products (PCPPA) unit of ANSES’s Laboratory for Food Safety, as well as ULCO’s Biochemistry of Aquatic Products (BPA) unit – which has also been a contracted unit in partnership with ANSES since 2014 and is accommodated on the Agency’s premises – and its Laboratory for Oceanology and Geosciences (LOG). The partnership may be extended to other teams depending on the project.
The teams in Boulogne-sur-Mer have already carried out joint research projects on biological and chemical contaminants related to marine resources and ecosystems. In particular, they took part in the MARCO State-Region plan contract (CPER), from 2016 to 2021. The strengthened partnership over the upcoming period will encompass research under way as part of the Ideal CPER, scheduled to run until 2027, which is focusing in particular on microplastics, Vibrio bacteria, and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).
Strengthening scientific cooperation and bringing the teams closer together
The partnership agreement provides for the continuation of scientific cooperation, with the funding and implementation of studies and research projects, the supervision of doctoral students, the production and provision of data, and the shared use of equipment and biological materials.
There are also plans to bring the teams closer together, particularly within contracted units (USCs) and through staff exchanges.
Moreover, ANSES and ULCO intend to organise joint scientific events and encourage their scientists to participate in each other’s committees and expert groups.