Aquaculture still growing
The 2014 Offshore Mariculture Conference confirmed that aquaculture is still the future.
According to conference chairman, Alessandro Lovatelli, aquaculture officer at the FAO, “the maximum sustainable potential from wild capture fisheries has been reached, but aquaculture is growing. And this is necessary to keep up with food consumption and the growing population”.
The 5th Offshore Mariculture Conference, held from the 9-11 April, attracted over 100 delegates from 18 different countries to Caserta, Naples, in Italy. Participants included managing directors, investors, CEO’s and fish farm operators from companies such as: BIM Irish Sea Fisheries Board, Carapax AB, PSP Investments, Cooke Aquaculture, Blue Ocean Mariculture, Cuna Del Mar and Badinotti Group SpA.
The two day technical conference was opened by Pier Antonio Salvador, president of the Associazione Piscicoltori Italiani (API), who welcomed delegates to Naples and set the scene for the key note papers presented by: José Aguilar-Manjarrez, Aquaculture Officer, FIRA and FAO who opened up the debate on spatial planning, an important tool in helping both public administrations and investors, in identifying and allocating the most appropriate areas for future aquaculture. Paul Holthus founding President/CEO, World Ocean Council, then covered international ocean policy developments and offshore aquaculture – global and regional actions affecting the future of business. Finally Kathrine Hawes, principal at Aquarius Lawyers, gave a lively presentation on the legal aspects of Offshore Mariculture.
A series of presentations in session three concentrated on technological developments most noticeably in cage design; the interest in the Q&A session demonstrated the need for such developments to take place in order for the industry to be able to move farther offshore.
The first day concluded with presentations updating delegates on the success and challenges of projects last discussed or nurtured from the 2012 conference in Izmir, Turkey. In particular Toby Baxendale, UK entrepreneur, discussed the successful partnership between himself and Neil Sims and Kampachi Farms. Delegates learned from their first-hand experience how to launch a viable mariculture project and how to seek investment.
The conference dinner was held on the first evening at the Historia Massa Restaurant, Caserta. All participants were keen to stay until the end to make the most of the excellent food at the early 19th Century historic restaurant, a popular eatery in Caserta old town, which provided further opportunity for networking and to discuss the day’s topical issues.
The afternoon session featured several speakers involved in renewable 'blue' energy. The interesting concept of multi-use platforms, and preliminary project results were presented, and research into Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) was also discussed.
The final presentations from Darko Lisac, Refa Med Italy, and Alessandro Galioto from Azienda Ittica San Giorgio, gave an insight into the application of modern netting materials in offshore cages, and a case study on the Gaeta fish farm. A video of the farm in operation wetted delegates’ appetites in preparation for the technical visit to the P2G fish farm on the third and final day of the conference.
To conclude the conference, Marianne Rasmussen-Coulling, events director, Mercator Media,
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