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President's Column December 2022

The year 2022 was a very busy year for our Chapter. We decided to help our Society in getting back to normal as soon as possible, but of course respecting the sanitary conditions worldwide and by specific countries regarding the Covid 19 pandemic.

That’s why our world event coincided with LACQUA 2022, and was held in April 2023 in beautiful Mérida, Yucatán, México. It was the firsttime event in two years for many of us and this fact was good enough to celebrate getting together. But the work has continued, with release of the details and call for abstracts for LACQUA 2023 that will take place from 18-21 April at the Hotel Riu in Panama City, Panama, with the support of Promtur, ARAP, the Ministry of Agriculture of Panama, PROMTUR, the Panamanian Association of Aquaculturists and national and international experts (ASPAC).

And in the past months, we have been very active in deciding the location for LACQUA 2024, and can proudly and happily inform all of our readers that the venue will be Plaza Mayor, in beautiful Medellín, Colombia, in the second half of 2024. It will be organized by the University of Antioquia and the CES University of Medellín. The idea is to unite this congress as it was done with LACQUA18 in Bogotá, that assures higher local attendance, including the very important participation of students. Colombia’s aquaculture production is very well established, among the leaders on the continent. In particular, the tilapia sector is very active and a world leader too. We are sure the conference will allow the local industry (tilapia but other species too) to show the world their advances and organization.

In terms of Latin American and Caribbean aquaculture, we are focusing on helping small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in aquaculture to consolidate, including the sector of population for whom an aquaculture project is focused on production for family consumption. In this 2022 – FAO’s International Year of the Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture — we actively participated in the foundation of the Mesoamerican Network for Small Aquaculturists (REMAPE in Spanish: Red Mesoamericana de Acuicultores de Pequeña Escala). Focused on the Mesoamerican region, and working together with FAO and OSPESCA, our Chapter will join forces with REMAPE to work for SME aquaculturists. In the first quarter of 2023 we will participate in a very interesting outreach effort to these producers that involves courses online and in the field on topics as variable as production techniques, production of feed with local inputs, socioeconomics, food security and nutrition impacts, and climate change-related topics. The LACC Chapter is committed to make efforts to help aquaculture become a real game-changer and disruptive force in rural areas, alleviating poverty and improving socioeconomic conditions for thousands of families in the region. We will keep you updated of what the LACC-REMAPE initiative will achieve.

We hope to see all of you in Panama City for LACQUA 2023! Please start planning.

— Francisco Javier Martinez Cordero, President