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President's Column June 2021

This year, our annual conference migrated to a virtual event and we are proud of the interest we received from our WAS members and the public at large. The six sessions were organized around a set of topics that reflect the aquaculture industry and expertise available in the Latin American and Caribbean region (Economy and Markets, Shrimp, Macrobrachium, Tilapia, Native and Marine Fishes, Health Management and Culture Systems). A special thank you to all the invited experts who showcased their research and interacted actively with the participants during the live Question and Answer sessions. We are also grateful for the support of our sponsors and media partners that helped make this event a reality and disseminate it outside our membership. In total, more than 450 delegates listened to the different presentations, 200 of them live between 23 and 25 March, the rest as post-event viewers accessing the recorded videos through the links made available. Participants came from Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and the United States.

We have discussed within the Chapter the possibility of organizing similar events in the future that could be geared towards specific topics and complement our annual conference. Such a platform could be made available to experts from distant locations, facilitating interactions and possible collaborations with distant colleagues, as well as helping increase the participation of young professionals and students.

Our full attention is now given to the final push for the organization and promotion of WA2021 #AquacultureNow. From November 8 to 12, the city of Mérida, Mexico, will become the world capital of aquaculture, by celebrating the annual meeting of the World Aquaculture Society. Mérida is a beautiful city with an exceptional climate. Located in the state of Yucatán, cradle of Mayan culture, it is a great tourist destination, where you will be enjoying beautiful beaches, cenotes and colonial heritage. The LACC joins WAS to wholeheartedly invite you to participate in this conference, enjoying the opportunity to meet again in person, listen to the keynote talks and great scientific presentations, as well as visit the commercial exhibition.

We are being very cautious and continue to monitor the evolution of the pandemic in the world and specifically in Mexico. We see promising advances with vaccination campaigns and trust that we will be able to offer all the necessary biosecurity measures to insure a safe and productive event. I invite those of you who have not done so yet, to submit your abstract before 6 August and get the opportunity to present your latest work and receive feedback from colleagues and friends. The online registration is now open; take advantage of the early-bird rates and WAS discounts. For more information on WA2021 or future LACC activities, contact Carolina Amézquita at carolina@was.org.

I hope you are all well and I look forward to the opportunity to meet again in Mérida this November.

— Laurence Massaut, President