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President's Column June 2022

The recently concluded World Aquaculture conference in Mérida, Yucatán, México, was a small but very rich conference. This repeatedly delayed conference — that included the Latin America and Caribbean Chapter representation — served to re-establish our WAS in-person conferences in the region. It was the first time in more than two years for many of us to greet and talk to colleagues, mostly from México but also from our continent. The environment felt was of joy, grateful and remembering those members and friends who are no longer with us, and who all of us are definitively missing. In this conference we incorporated for the first time the format of the Panel Session. Six very interesting panels were carried out, chaired by Drs. Marisol Izquierdo (Univeridad de Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain), Lou D’Abramo (Mississippi State University, United States) and myself, in this case co-coordinated with Dr. Alejandro Flores Nava, main Fisheries and Aquaculture Officer of FAO in the region.

During the conference, and as is always planned, the LACC Board met to discuss and plan our coming year. I must say that our chapter was very active in 2021, conducting in March a virtual seminar, replacing the LACQUA conference in Guayaquil that was originally planned for 2020. More than 200 viewers over three days (average attendance per session of 50) participated and had the opportunity to listen and discuss with 30 regional experts, from academia and industry.

LACQUA 2023 will be carried out in 18-21April 2023 in Panamá. Both the Steering and Academic Committees will start planning and working sessions very soon. During our Mérida’s LACC Board and in the WAS Board, discussion was very active in search of new, innovative ways of integrating students into our conferences. I am sure we will come out with new schemes to achieve it. In our LACC Board meeting, we also discussed the relevance of the poster session and how can we reinforce the participation of students in the program planning. For those of you who attended LACQUA 2017 in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México, you may remember that we innovated by giving time to poster presenters at the end of the topic sessions to briefly present their posters. We will retake this and other schemes.

I also want our LACC Chapter to better represent our region. I will work hard not only to recover our membership (affected, as expected, by the pandemic) but to have a higher inclusion of all our Latin American and Caribbean countries in our Chapter.

Finally, we are facing, again, important challenges with the high inflation rates in our countries and are still recovering from the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The socioeconomic conditions are worsening for the population in general and for our micro and small aquaculturists in the region in particular. From the LAC Chapter, we will reinforce discussion of the role of aquaculture in alleviating poverty and hunger faced on our continent. There is much to do, the challenge is even bigger now, but all of us must act from the trenches so that we help in this huge goal.

I don’t want to close this participation and communication with our World Aquaculture readers without recognizing the great job carried out by Dr. Antonio Garza de Yta during his term as WAS President, which was extended by Covid. Antonio, a good friend of mine, coincided with the peak of the pandemic and, like all of us, had to adjust, innovate and many times being forced to change plans but not the final goal: to continue the role of WAS worldwide. One clear example was our world conference planned for Mérida in 2020, delayed several times and finally could be carried out in May. Congratulations on a job well done, and I am sure his new jobs and plans will be carried out successfully.

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

— Francisco Javier Martinez Cordero, President