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Short Term Joint Staff of the GastroFish project in Castellón

During September 12-16, 2022, DIDEAS hosted the Short Term Joint Staff of the GastroFish project "Increasing the empowerment of youth by improving the digital e-learning in GastroFish", in Castellón, Spain. Representatives of the different member organizations of the consortium, including the Yalova University, SUYMERBIR and AKSAM from Turkey, Innopolis from Greece, CEIPES from Italy and DIDEAS from Spain, participated in the meeting. It was a week full of activities related to the industry and fish consumption, which included both experiences related to aquaculture, marketing and culinary techniques for its preparation, all under the influence of the maritime district of Grao de Castellón.

On Monday, 12 September 2022, the activities began with a social lunch where all the participants gathered to get to know each other better for the future activities that would be carried out throughout the week. Later, this spirit continued at the DIDEAS offices, where a presentation and guided tour were given, as well as a series of ice-breakers to promote group cohesion. The participants also received information on the objectives, characteristics and results of the project and the activity they were part of.

On Tuesday, 13 September 2022, a visit was made to the Institute of Aquaculture Torre de la Sal (IATS), a space that constitutes the only CSIC center dedicated entirely to aquaculture research in Spain. First, the participants were welcomed by Ariadna Sitjà Bobadilla, Director of the IATS, who gave a lecture in which she presented the history and characteristics of the center, its main activities and its main contributions. The tour continued through the different areas of the center through which it was possible to appreciate the work focused on the development, behavioral studies and reproduction of different species, such as: sea bass, sea bream and zebrafish, among others. All this favored a fruitful exchange with all the participants who always showed their interest in the initiatives carried out by such a prestigious institution.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022 was dedicated to a tour of the maritime district of Grau de Castellón and the city of Castellón focused on fishing and the history of maritime life in the region. The activities began in the Grau, with a tour around the port and some of its docks, the lighthouse and the old fishermen's quarter of the city. There was also a visit to the Museum of the Sea where participants were able to appreciate the different fishing techniques used in the region, models with different typical boats, fishing tools used by the locals, that is to say, a total immersion in the world of fishing in Castellón. The tour continued in the most emblematic places of Castellón. To end the day, a culinary workshop was held at GASMA (University of Gastronomy), which was tutored by a chef from the institution and during which participants learned to cook three fish-based dishes: ceviche, seafood wok and mellow rice with katsuobushi and lime mayonnaise. It was a wonderful experience where everyone participated in the preparation and culminated with a social dinner to taste the preparations.

On Thursday, 15 September 2022 a visit to the facilities of the port of Castellón took place in order to learn about its geostrategic importance in the movement of goods, including fish in the region. The participants received an introductory session with one of the accredited specialists of the institution, where the relevance of the port, its evolution and history, as well as its most recent works and future plans were explained. Later, they participated in a guided tour of the maritime facilities and some of its key points, where they were able to appreciate the loading and unloading, storage and transfer of the main goods moved by the port. The day concluded with a visit to the fish market, thanks to the kindness of the Fishermen's Guild of Castellón, during which they were able to appreciate the characteristics of the fish sale process, as well as the biosecurity protocols that must be respected in these cases.

On Friday, 16 September 2022, the activities returned to the DIDEAS offices where a lively meeting on fishing techniques and fish consumption in Castellón took place with an expert fisherman from the region. With a presentation on the characteristics of sport fishing and the different competitions held in the locality, Pepe made a tour of the main species that can be found in the waters of Castellón, the main methods and tricks for catching them, the permitted fishing sizes, as well as the high performance of the Spanish national team in world championships in which he had participated. With fishing utensils such as fishing rods, fishing line, lead, hooks and reels, he performed several practical demonstrations to the amazement and joy of those present who actively participated in the session through questions and comments, reflecting on the different fishing techniques in the different member countries of the consortium.

This day marked the end of the intense schedule planned for the training and knowledge of the participants, who shared animatedly for a week, interspersing the training activities with recreational meetings, such as social lunch and social dinner in restaurants specialized in seafood dishes.

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