SOUTH AFRICA - The World Aquaculture Society takes its annual conference to Africa for the first time in 2017 – turning the spotlight on the potential of aquaculture production to support economic development and investment opportunities in the world’s second-fastest growing regional economy.
Aquaculture is increasingly important as an environmentally sustainable way to meet global demand for fisheries products, while Sub-Saharan Africa’s vast inland waters and coastlines – home to a small but rapidly growing aquaculture sector – present a largely untapped opportunity to contribute to the nutrition and socio-economic development needs of the region.
Themed “Sustainable Aquaculture – New Frontiers for Economic Growth – Spotlight on Africa”, World Aquaculture 2017 will bring together some 3,000 industry, academic and government delegates from the 100 member countries of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS), in Cape Town, South Africa, from 26-30 June 2017.
Representing the coming of age of African aquaculture and a significant milestone for the global aquaculture community, WAS will launch its Africa Chapter at the conference, where the continent will join the United States, Korea, Asia-Pacific and Latin-American-Caribbean as fully affiliated chapters of the WAS.
The conference will balance global and African perspectives, the theme captured in keynote addresses – “Feeding the Nine Billion: The Role of Aquaculture” by leading sustainable aquaculture advocate Dr Rohana Subasinghe, and “African Perspectives on Aquaculture” by Dr Sloans Chimatiro, Programme Manager: Fish Trade at the World Fish Centre, Zambia – setting the tone for the conference and highlighting the value of aquaculture in global food security.
Financing and investment in the aquaculture industry will be highlighted in the keynote address “The global seafood industry from a banker’s perspective” by Gorjan Nikolik, senior industry analyst for Food and Agri-business Research and Advisory at Rabobank International, the Netherlands-based cooperative bank.
Focusing on “farm to plate”, aquaculture development and commercialisation expert Prof Tom Hecht, a former board member of the WAS, will speak on “Establishing aquaculture value chains”.
WAS Conference Programme co-chair, Prof Peter Britz said: “The continent is seeing a boom in infrastructure and logistics development, there is a growing population to sustain consumer demand and support employment creation, and Africa is endowed with vast natural resources to support aquaculture.”
He continued to say that traditional small-subsistence aquaculture in Africa was rapidly transforming and becoming integrated into the continent’s food systems as African governments increasingly adopted policies to support commercial-scale production and encourage investment in the sector.
The conference caters to the broad range of interests in aquaculture, providing a earning, information-sharing and networking opportunity for entrepreneurs, business, scientists, technical specialists, educators, students, policy-makers and public officials.
The technical and scientific programme and diverse parallel sessions will be complemented by a major international trade show, while the AquaForum provides an opportunity for producers from around the world to share information on challenges, techniques and new developments.
TheFishSite News Desk