IMAQUA @Aquaculture Europe 2023 in Vienna

The innovation breeze is floating in the air at a vibrant and full of action conference in Vienna. Natasja Cox’s presentation on Effect of salinity drop on susceptibility to WSSV infection in Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp using a per os challenge model yesterday was intriguing (to say the least) and today we are continuing with making new connections, exchanging ideas and putting together action plans for the new year ahead.

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New publication in Viruses MDPI

We are very pleased to announce that the newest paper of our PhD Candidate, Natasja Cox, entitled “The Way of Water: Unravelling White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) Transmission Dynamics in Litopenaeus vannamei Shrimp” has now been published in Viruses MDPI. This study was the result of a collaboration between IMAQUA and the Laboratory of Virology and the Department of Morphology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and the Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center, at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University.

For accessing full article:

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Imaqua is present at the Blauwe Innovatiedorp in Oostend today, 01-06-2023. As a partner in the BlueMarine³.Com project we present the research towards a viable multispecies hatchery including L. vannamei to the public. Meet us at stand B5!

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Kick-start of C-Shrimp project

Crystal clear shrimp: next generation water filtration and waste up-cycling, for sustainable and profitable indoor shrimp farming

Duration: December 1, 2022 – November 30, 2025

Label: DBC project (ongoing)

The last decade has seen a strong growing interest in aquaculture and related activities in Flanders, both from the industrial side and from the government. A general problem that arises and complicates further scaling up to commercial sites is the high cost of production and the increasing pressure on local resources (water, space, raw materials). This project will make it possible to produce larger volumes of sea food on smaller areas, at a competitive market price and according to sustainable principles.

The overall objective of this project is to develop an indoor shrimp culture concept with zero water exchange and almost zero waste production. The new concept is based on improved clear-water technology, enabling intensive shrimp farming. At the same time, the footprint will also be reduced by recycling waste into a product that promotes shrimp health. To that end, C-shrimp will:

– Build a new experimental facility as the starting platform to develop all the tools. 

– Add a module to grow microalgae that will remove nitrate from the system.

– Develop a new filtration system to remove significantly more solid sludge from the shrimp RAS system. 

– Develop a new fermentation process to convert shrimp RAS waste into a feed material for shrimp farms. 

– Develop a modified shrimp diet that has immunostimulatory effects and contains less fish and soybean meal.

In the first place, this project is needed to farm sufficient shrimp for the expanding CRO work of IMAQUA in Flanders. If this new farming concept can be successfully commercialized in the future, it will be a breakthrough for European fish, shellfish and crustacean production and improve competition with imported products. The techniques developed will also be relevant for scaling up hatchery and nursery installations.

Partners: IMAQUA, Avecom, Trome, Ghent University

With the support of: VLAIO and the European Union

Contact person: Lien Loosvelt


The FResCO project of the spearhead clusters Catalisti and De Blauwe Cluster was recognized as an intercluster project within the Flemish policy plan bio-economy, financed from the relaunch plan ‘Flemish Resilience’. With these funds, the Flemish government gives an extra impulse by supporting (inter)cluster projects between the research world and various private sectors that fall within one or more of the themes defined in the bioeconomy policy plan.

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We just returned from another successful Aquaculture Europe event in Rimini, Italy. Its impressive convention center surprised not only with hundreds of participants and extra wide allays, but was a great space for sharing new big ideas and having in depth discussions on challenges in nowadays aquaculture.

Natasja Cox, our PhD student has presented very promising research results in her oral presentation “Development of standardised In Vivo WSSV individual and group challenge models for experimental infection studies in Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp.”

Meetings with partners, current and potential clients and extensive scientific discussions have been carried on even after hours with a glass of authentic Belgian beer brought all the way from Flanders (big thanks to our friends @Trome).

IMAQUA team is returning with a boost of enthusiasm and enriched with new knowledge. We are bringing home some inspirations, some ideas to be implemented and some to be challenged.

Tom Baelemans, Natasja Cox, Joao Lima, Elija Adomelyte, Elena Alves, Katerina Rehakova and Evelien de Swaef
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Ir. Mathieu Wille is joining IMAQUA as new Project and Facility Manager 

We are delighted to share the news, that on 01/09/2022 Ir. Mathieu Wille joined us in a role of Project and Facility Manager. 

Coming from the Laboratory of Aquaculture and Artemia Reference Center (Ghent), Bioscience-engineer Mathieu Wille has gathered over 25 years of experience in aquaculture research, specializing in different aspects of broodstock and larval nutrition of fish and shellfish. 

He worked as senior scientist-project manager in many national and international projects, trained and supervised students at MSc and PhD level and taught courses on crustacean farming. Mathieu is co-author of close to 70 publications in scientific journals and books. 

In recent years he was strongly involved in Ghent University’s business development center BLUEGent, performing research services for the industry. 

At IMAQUA he will be managing research and infrastructure development projects and will ensure smooth functioning of the testing facilities.

Ir. Mathieu Wille
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7th anniversary of IMAQUA

IMAQUA’s yearly event intended to thank colleagues, associates, collaborators, service providers and friends who over the past year(s) contributed to company’s development and growth.

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13th Annual Workshop of the National Reference Laboratories for Crustacean Diseases

On the 1st of June 2022, IMAQUA was invited to speak at the 13th Annual Workshop of the National Reference Laboratories for Crustacean Diseases organized by the National Institute of Aquatic Resources at the Technical University of Denmark.

The purpose of this annual workshop is to provide a forum for knowledge exchange regarding the disease situation in the various EU Member States and to present and discuss scientific projects and new developments in crustacean disease research.

IMAQUA’s PhD candidate Natasja Cox presented our recent advances on the development of experimental infection models for WSSV.

Evelien De Swaef, Senior Project Manager at IMAQUA, presented our progress on the optimization of qPCR procedures for detection of shrimp viruses.

Natasja Cox, PhD candidate, IMAQUA
Evelien de Swaef, Senior Project Manager, IMAQUA
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Visit to Ostend to meet Commissioner Sinkevičius & Minister Crevits

Imaqua gave a presentation on how Belgian Blue Science leads to entrepreneurship during the visit of European Commissioner Sinkevičius and Minister Crevits to Ostend.

Dr João Lima, Managing Director IMAQUA, Ostend 06/09/2021

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Natasja – IMAQUA’s new PhD candidate

Introducing Natasja Cox– IMAQUA’s Phd candidate under Baekeland Mandate, granted by VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship organisation)

Natasja obtained her degree in Veterinary Medicine from Ghent University in 2018, specializing in research, livestock and aquatic animals. Her master thesis on necrotic enteritis in poultry was completed at the Laboratory of Pathology, Bacteriology and Poultry Diseases of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Subsequently, she was admitted to the Vlerick Business School and graduated from the Master’s in General Management programme in 2019. She went on to co-found and work at Ziphius Therapeutics.

In 2020, Natasja joined IMAQUA as a PhD candidate. For the upcoming 4 years, she will be working alongside IMAQUA’s and UGent’s scientists on the PhD research project “Development of innovative experimental infection models for economically devastating microbial infections in shrimp”.

This project aims at expanding IMAQUA’s service portfolio to a wider range of microbial infection models as well as contributing to advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis of acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease in shrimp.

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