March 15, 2021

President's Column March 2021

Dear World Aquaculture Society members. First, I would like to pay my respects to all the friends and family who we have lost during these unprecedented difficult times. The COVID pandemic has had a high cost at all levels and has taught us rough lessons. For most, it has been a time to reevaluate the priorities in our lives and value everything we have. The pandemic has not only hurt us at a personal level but also has had a high impact on the aquaculture sector, which has been one of the most affected by it, as stated in several studies performed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Today, more than ever, we need to stay together and support each other. Today, more than ever, we need a strong World Aquaculture Society that is close and serves the more than 19 million people that make their direct livelihood through aquaculture and many million more that work along the value chain.

Personally, becoming president of WAS is the culmination of a dream that started more than 20 years ago while I was a student at Auburn University. I have always been confident that whenever you work hard and put your mind to something, there is nothing you cannot achieve. I have always tried to transmit this message to my family, students and co-workers. But no man is an island and no organization can have a significant impact with just a few participants; WAS needs the collaboration of all of you. I encourage all our members to get involved in the Society, propose new ideas, assume an active role, serve our colleagues and encourage other aquaculture professionals to get involved.

For our organization, as for any other in the world, the current situation has been extremely challenging. The constant rescheduling of our conferences has stressed our resources but the foresight of our predecessors has permitted us to sail through this storm. Now it is time to focus on the forthcoming challenges and improve our communication skills. We cannot wait for the world to come to WAS, WAS needs to go out and reach the world. It is time that we increase the participation of aquaculturists all over the world. In addition, it is time to increase the collaboration with other institutions worldwide. We need to evolve and adapt to the new times; after this process we will come out stronger. I am confident in the team we have. Diversity without a doubt is one of the strengths of our Society. I know that together we are destined to achieve great things.

During 2021, we will restart our Society’s conferences, beginning with Aquaculture America in San Antonio, Texas, from 11-14 August, followed by Aquaculture Canada and WAS North America in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, from 26-29 September. Later, from 15-19 November, a significant event will occur, World Aquaculture 2021 in Mérida, Mexico. This is the first time that our global event will be organized in parallel with the Subcommittee on Aquaculture of the FAO, a result of several years of teamwork, negotiation and collaboration among WAS, FAO and the Mexican government. We are confident that this is going to be one the most significant events in the history of the Society. Finishing our tight agenda for the end of the year, World Aquaculture 2020 will finally take place in Singapore from 5-9 December and Aquaculture Africa 2021, organized by our newest chapter, will take place in Alexandria, Egypt, from 11-14 December. We are expecting that there will not be many more changes due to COVID restrictions. Regardless, we will be ready and working tirelessly to assure that our beloved Society keeps serving all of you and the aquaculture industry.

I would like to thank the Board members finishing their terms, Maria Célia Portella, Humberto Villareal and Mike Denson, for their outstanding service and welcome the incoming members of the board, Jennifer Cobcroft, Victoria Taurus and David Cline, all of whom I am sure will be of great service to the Society. Finally, a special recognition goes to Carol Mendoza, who will be retiring after a whole lifetime of service to WAS on March 31. She will be missed.

Thank you all, stay safe, stay healthy and take good care of your families. — Antonio Garza de Yta, President

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About Dr. Antonio Garza de Yta

WAS President 2021 - 2022. Antonio Garza de Yta, a renowned international aquaculture professional, who holds a Masters degree and a Ph.D. in Aquaculture from the University of Auburn, USA. He is an aquaculture expert, FAO frequent consultant, as well as a specialist in strategic planning. Ex-director of Extension and International Training for the University of Auburn and creator of the Certification for Aquaculture Professionals in that academic institution.

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Previous President's Columns

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