Offshore Mariculture Asia highlights the need for sustainable growth

Future generations will need to produce more with less.

Chairman, Alessandro Lovatelli, Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Officer, set the tone of the conference and highlighted the key factors that need to be considered to ensure the growth of any business within the industry.

Mr Lovatelli’s address was followed by Lukas Manomaitis - USSEC Aquaculture Program Technical Contractor and Southeast Asian Technical Director at the US Soybean Export Council, Colby Sutter - Director of the International Aquaculture Program with USSEC, Guillaume Drillet - President of the World Aquaculture Society Asian Pacific Chapter and Bjorn Myrseth - European Aquaculture Society President.

Guillaume Drillet highlighted the World Aquaculture Society role in promoting aquaculture for sustainable growth, and the anticipated need to produce twice as much food as is being produced today. “In 20 years from now, we will need to produce twice as much, with half the resource. We want to make sure that our kids can produce whatever they will need to in future and we must ensure that we are not impacting that.” Bjorn Myrseth ended the opening addresses by offering a short explanation on the future of offshore cage farming. He added that the structure of cages and nets was the hardest part of the offshore farming system, combined with other issues such as sea lice problems and fish escapes from nets that also require consideration.

The first session ‘Moving from inefficient nearshore production approaches to higher energy offshore industrial methods’, welcomed Erik Vis, Director of Farming Operations at Ocean Blue cobia farm, who began the session by introducing his company’s three-pillar approach to sustainability when working offshore. The approach incorporates social responsibility, including the education and training of employees, environmental care, ensuring that the growing fish are native species with no influence on wildlife and finally full accountability, aiming to exceed the highest standards with consistent and thorough certification.

The first session concluded on the factors to take into account when deciding on a possible site, including seabed topography, composition, infrastructure, the availability of skilled seamen, proximity to harbours, possible marine predators, and feeding. Day two (today Wednesday 16 May) will include maximising efficiency and the marketing of the overall product.