Alessandro Lovatelli: highlighting the future of aquaculture
This year's Offshore Mariculture Conference Chairman was Alessandro Lovatelli, FAO Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Officer based at Santiago in Chile. He started his aquaculture career in Europe's private sector when working on the artificial production of commercially valuable bivalve species and on-growing applications. Today he is based in the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (RLC) in Santiago, offering technical support to aquaculture development.
In the run-up to OMC Asia, he shared his thoughts on offshore farming in Singapore and what he hoped to see at this week's event. He referred to Singapore as a key fish trading hub geographically located in the centre of an important regional market, but acknowledged the country's small size and highlighted the importance of looking at the aquaculture industry of South East Asia as a whole. He then touched upon the limited space for offshore aquaculture development in Singapore but was keen to emphasize the potential for it to grow in the region.
"Finding a place to develop aquaculture is becoming an issue now," he said.
"We know that aquaculture is growing amidst a huge demand for marine products. Where can such products be farmed at an industrial level? Which areas can be exploited? I would say the open sea. In Singapore, land is very expensive, but it's a country with a lot of capital coming in and out. It's a financial hub, and easy entry port for people in the region and elsewhere, which is why this week's conference is here."
Alessandro Lovatelli commented that bringing an internationally recognised event like the Offshore Mariculture Conference to Asia highlights the possibility of offshore farming and allows regional and international players to see that it can materialize within the very near future. He hopes that the event will create an opportunity for the audience to look at the whole value chain of offshore farming, from hatcheries to marketing.
"The conference is like a puzzle with lots of different topics, and I would like the delegates to understand that for offshore aquaculture to take place, to complete the puzzle, they need to see and fit all these different pieces," he said.
"I am particularly looking forward to the session on zoning, licensing and security because these are long-term issues that any large investor will want to feel confident about and focus on. Singapore is a good hub to organise this kind of event, and the good thing about South East Asia is that the people are familiar with aquaculture and seeing farming facilities. This region could be the one to pick up offshore aquaculture and take it forward."
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