June 15, 2023

President's Column June 2023

This column is being written on a flight out of Darwin, after an incredible World Aquaculture 2023 conference and exhibition. There were 1,394 people attending, bringing an enthusiastic hum of conversation everywhere as people reconnected with common interest in ‘Supporting Strength in Aquaculture.’ Not only did WA2023 consider the latest in technical developments, the meeting also brought focus to the wellbeing of the people involved in aquaculture. Thank you to the sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, participants, conference management team, and Steering and Regional Organizing Committee members. Congratulations to the Student travel and Spotlight award winners from WA23: Jessica Hintzsche, Charles Sutherland, and Flavia Bandero Hoffling. I’m still savoring the fine seafood provided by local aquaculture companies.

Congratulations and welcome to incoming WAS Officers and Board members who took office in Darwin: David Cline as President-Elect; Rumaitha Al Busaidi as Secretary; Shivaun Leonard, Etienne Hinrichsen and Yahira Piedrahita as Directors. Sincere thanks to outgoing Officers and Directors, Antonio Garza de Yta, Kathleen Hartman, Marco Saroglia, Guillaume Drillet and David Cline (changing role on Board). It has been and remains an honor to serve and support the Society and members together with such passionate people.

In Darwin, the Board were impressed with developments across the Chapters and initiatives underway to increase connection and communication with members. In recent months, WAS has an improved financial position, due to the success of recent conferences. We are focused on a balance of using resources to improve communication of aquaculture science, technology and innovation and increasing financial reserves to allow the Society to weather unexpected future events.

Thanks once again to John Hargreaves, who is handing the baton of Editor-in-Chief of World Aquaculture to Greg Lutz. This is John’s last magazine issue and we are grateful for his unwavering commitment to sharing real-world aquaculture news and challenges.

This is my last column as President and it is with pleasure that I share this column with incoming WAS President, Humberto Villarreal. I look forward to meeting you at a future WAS event.

— Jennifer Blair, Immediate Past-President

My first contribution to World Aquaculture as President of WAS occurs 40 years after I first arrived in Australia to begin my postgraduate studies in aquaculture bioenergetics at the University of Queensland. Since that time, aquaculture has consolidated as a major player in supplying high-quality protein to the world and it will continue to play a major role in meeting the nutritional demands of the global population, contributing to food security worldwide.

This is a significant challenge that requires input from all stakeholders, including suppliers, farmers, processors, distributors and government officials, but also from scientists and technology innovators. For WAS, this is of particular importance, as we are looking to consolidate our efforts to bridge the gap between knowledge-based technology and production, by bringing up-to-date information to our members. To that end, we continue to support the reinvigoration process of the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, which has now reached a very relevant impact factor of 3.4. Our most recent JWAS publication is a Special Issue containing eight major review articles in collaboration with FAO arising from the latest Global Conference on Aquaculture Millennium+20 held in Shanghai, China.

The WAS Board has approved World Aquaculture magazine becoming an online periodical open to all stakeholders and interested parties. This means that everyone worldwide will now be able to read the excellent articles from our members and be up to date with news from the Society and all our regional Chapters. Our conferences continue to be the most important aquaculture events worldwide and we are looking for ways to make them more relevant with special sessions, debates, panel discussions and associated events.

Students are a major point of interest for the Society, as the future of the industry depends on a strong nucleus of knowledgeable people. In Darwin, the Board approved the option for all students to access free membership of WAS. Students can become members through the WAS website. We will be making a stronger effort to bring more students to our conferences, with the help of our valued sponsors. One example is the upcoming Prof. Addison Lawrence Award for studies in nutrition, supported by Ziegler.

The Honors and Awards Committee did an excellent selection job this year, so I would like to congratulate our new award recipients Dr. Clive Jones and Ms. Anoushka Concepcion, who received the WAS Industry Impact Award, Dr. Juan Pablo Lazo received recognition as a Fellow of the Society, and Professor Roy Douglas Palmer becomes the latest recipient of the Honorary Life Award. Congratulations to all of them. The Society is very proud to honor your accomplishments.

As we move forward, please feel free to contact me and our Chapter Presidents to bring your ideas as to how to improve our Society. We have a strong line-up of conferences, so I hope to be able to meet you at one of our events soon. Cheers.

— Humberto Villarreal, President

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About Jennifer Blair

Jennifer Blair (formerly Cobcroft), has worked for over twenty years in marine fish farming, spanning science, technology and management within both research and private sectors. Her research has focused on hatchery production of difficult-to-rear marine finfish, including developmental biology, fish health and system design.