UN-backed aquaculture conference opens in Thailand

22 September 2010 – A United Nations-sponsored conference opened today in Thailand to review progress made in developing aquaculture as a sustainable food producing sector and to take stock of its future potential and contribution to the global community.

A collaborative effort of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific, and the Thai Department of Fisheries, the Global Conference brings together more than 700 participants experts and others from 60 countries.

During the four-day conference, which takes place in Phuket, participants will consider ways to reduce and mitigate the sector’s environmental impact and improve its governance, while further increasing its contribution to food security, economic development and the alleviation of poverty.

They will seek to build consensus on advancing aquaculture as a global, sustainable and competitive food production sector. They will also seek to improve knowledge, information, research, extension and communication in aquaculture, and to facilitate global understanding of the current status of the aquaculture sector and the challenges facing it.

Aquaculture has grown over the past decade to where it now provides nearly 50 per cent of global supplies of fish as human food, in a sector that already provides more than 30 million jobs worldwide. As a result, governments are increasingly seeing aquaculture as an important element in rural development and investment strategies. Yet some regions, such as Africa, are being left behind.

Over the next four days, participants will hear about technological advances over the past 10 years in such areas as water treatment, new farming systems and species, health management, improved information and communication, and fish feed with substantially reduced fishmeal content. The question of genetics in aquaculture will also be a hot topic.

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