September 15, 2022

President's Column September 2022

Greetings to everyone for the September WAS President column. The last three months have been a busy time for the World Aquaculture Society, with the increased number of in-person conferences. These conferences are the culmination of years of planning and a credit to all involved in the delivery of major events that facilitate sharing aquaculture knowledge.

Like many of you, my three months have been filled with a variety of things: tank cleaning and feeding aquatic animals, applying new technologies, setting up scientific studies, learning new things, and communicating progress in conversation and in writing. When so much can happen in just three months, it is a reminder to me of the benefits of sharing experiences with other people. From my perspective, that is what the World Aquaculture Society is for — to share our experiences of aquaculture.

With that shared frame in mind — WAS, the Aquaculture Association of Canada (AAC) and the Newfoundland and Labrador Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) co-hosted Aquaculture Canada and WAS North America 2022 in August in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. The event delivered tough conversations and celebrated achievements through technical sessions and networking events. I’m sorry to have missed the Kitchen Party.

World Aquaculture Singapore 2022, November 29 – December 2, is shaping up to be a significant in-person conference, with a fully subscribed trade show. This will be the first WAS conference in Asia in over three years, since Asian-Pacific Aquaculture 2019 in Chennai, India. The program is filled with opportunities to share innovations in science, experience new technologies and network with friends and colleagues. There are over 500 abstracts submitted for the conference and attendance is anticipated to approach 2000 people. Singapore is an ideal location to explore the theme ‘Next Generation Aquaculture: Innovation and Sustainability will Feed the World.’ The plenary speakers will be Grace Fu (Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Singapore) and Matthias Halwart (Head of the Aquaculture Branch, Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division, FAO), who will set the scene for an inspiring event. The session planning is progressing well and the Student Activities Committee is working closely with the WAS Asian-Pacific Chapter to ensure a valuable program of professional development and networking for all students attending.

In other WAS news, there has been a change of Executive Editor of the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, with Ken Cain commencing in this role in September 2022. We bid farewell to Matt Slater from that role, but not from WAS involvement, and thank Matt for his valuable contributions to the Journal.

Communication with WAS chapters has centered around ongoing efforts of the WAS Board to improve student member benefits and to further develop policies to support diversity and inclusion in WAS.

A major activity informing global aquaculture development was the launch of the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2022 edition in June, during the UN Ocean Conference in Portugal. The report documents recent growth in aquaculture production, reaching a record 122.6 million metric tons globally in 2020 with a value of US$ 281.5 billion. Of critical importance to the World Aquaculture Society is the statement that aquaculture sector growth has often occurred at the expense of the environment. The WAS Vision Statement affirms that “the World Aquaculture Society, through its commitment to excellence in science, technology, education, and information exchange, will contribute to the progressive and sustainable development of aquaculture throughout the world.” There is always more for WAS members to do through research, education and communication to contribute to the diverse activities of aquaculture internationally and to share practices that are not at the expense of the environment.

Keep sharing your experiences of aquaculture. See you at a World Aquaculture Society or Chapter conference soon.

— Jennifer Blair, 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.