ANALYSIS - Bringing together seafood buyers, producers, academics and other organisations from across the world, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) GOAL conference took place in Paris, France last week, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.
Giving the keynote address on the first day, Ole-Eirik Leroy, Chairman of Marine Harvest, stated the importance of aquaculture in feeding the world and providing vital nutrients in a sustainable way.
Mr Leroy noted that aquaculture needs further market development which will raise the importance of eating seafood for a healthy diet.
"In the future, doctors should be asking how much seafood we eat, as an indicator of general health," said Mr Leroy.
This statement gave a clear message that seafood is important for health but to reach this point more communication and education to the general public is needed to increase consumption world wide.
Leading the way in increasing seafood consumption, Linda Cornish, Executive Director of Seafood Nutrition Partnership, discussed her mission for a healthier America.
Ms Cornish stated that by eating seafood two times a week, you can reduce your risk of the world's biggest avoidable killer - heart disease - by 36 per cent.
The main theme of this year's conference was Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS). Renowned professor, Dr Donald Lightner, University of Arizona, spoke about where we are with our knowledge about EMS, a new PCR technique that is being developed and how biosecurity along the whole supply chain needs to be strengthened.
Discussing the impact that EMS has had on world markets, Gorjan Nikolik, Rabobank International, stated that EMS has caused a tradeflow shift from west to east, with China now emerging as a new net importer.
In terms of global aquaculture production, Business Economist Ragnar Tveteras presented a mixed bag. Overall, aquaculture production has slowed in the last few years and not all species will experience an increase in production this year, or in 2014.
Coho salmon is expecting a 20 per cent decrease in production in 2014 and cod production is also forecast to decline by a huge 50 per cent.
Global shrimp production in 2013 will also be 23 per cent less than expected, based on the past decade, partly due to disease.
On the increase, tilapia and pangasius are both expecting small production increases for 2013 and 2014.