conference chairman, Alessandro Lovatelli, aquaculture officer at the FAO, stated,
“the maximum sustainable potential from wild capture fisheries has been
reached, but aquaculture is growing”.
5th Offshore Mariculture Conference, held from the 9-11 April, attracted over
100 delegates from 18 different countries to Caserta, Naples.
set the scene for this year’s conference, and said that to keep up with food
consumption and the growing population, we need more fish for protein. It is
predicted that the world population will grow to over 9 billion by 2050. Fish
farms are expected to produce nearly two-thirds of global food fish supply by
2030, and the rise in seafood demand gives countries the opportunity to expand
and improve responsible fish and shellfish farming practices, with increased
focus on offshore mariculture.
Asia is the only continent producing more fish than capture fisheries (54%),
and, geographically, tilapia is the most widespread species for aquaculture
production in the world.
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 three keynote papers presented by José
Aguilar-Manjarrez, Aquaculture Officer, FIRA and FAO, Paul Holthus founding
President/CEO, World Ocean Council and Kathrine Hawes, principal at Aquarius
José 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. He also made the point that we
are running out of land, and there is increased pressure on freshwater
resources. He said that the opportunity lies offshore, but many countries that
have a coast are not practicing offshore mariculture. Paul covered international ocean policy developments
and offshore aquaculture – global and regional actions affecting the future of
business. Finally, Katherine gave a lively presentation on the legal aspects of
series of presentations followed, that concentrated on technological
developments - most noticeably in cage design - and 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 further offshore.
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.
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 second day began with a presentation delivered by Neil Sims, who presented
his paper on water quality monitoring via telephone from Hawaii. He gave
delegates an outline of the Ocean Stewards Institute's white paper on water
quality monitoring and the available science on water quality impacts around
open ocean mariculture sites. He made the point that "fear
mongering", mainly by NGOs badly affects the public's perception of
Sims was followed by a presentation from Benen Dallaghan, who gave an
interesting presentation on an organic salmon farming project in Galway Bay.
Benen is responsible for GIS at BIM (Irish Sea Fisheries Board) and he
explained to delegates the use of GIS as part of the site selection process for
the proposed farm.
Olesen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, discussed how feed
supplies can be produced for an expanding aquaculture industry in the future.
In his concluding remarks he noted that it is likely to be the industrial
biotechnology companies that will produce the feed resources in 2040, and that
the feed companies will likely continue to develop and optimise feed
formulation. He also asked the question, will biotechnological companies take
over feed producers, or will it be the opposite?
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
final presentations from Darko Lisac, Refa Med Italy, and Alessandro Galioto
from Azienda Ittica San Giorgio, respectively 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 whetted delegates’
appetites in preparation for the technical visit to the P2G fish farm on the
third and final day of the conference.
conclude the conference, Marianne Rasmussen-Coulling, events director at
Mercator Media, announced that plans are already being made for the Offshore
Mariculture Conference 2015 that is due to take place in Mexico in June.
visit to the P2G fish farm saw delegates heading out to sea to view the farm's
core business; the intensive farming of sea bass, sea bream and meagre.
Delegates had the opportunity to see the 72 floating cages where 2,000 tonnes
of the three farmed species are produced, from fry purchased from qualified and
certified hatcheries. Each batch of product produced at P2G can be fully traced
and identified throughout the whole value chain through software which allows
real time information on batch number, quantity, feed, farming days,
the visit to the cages and a boat tour, P2G hosted a fantastic seafood lunch in
Gaeta, with a speech from the Mayor of Gaeta welcoming delegates to the town.
information on the 6th Offshore Mariculture Conference will be announced soon.