The Journal of the World Aquaculture Society (JWAS) began 50 years ago, with the publication in 1970 of Volume 1 of what was then the Proceedings of the World Mariculture Society. The forward to that inaugural issue framed the purpose of the World Mariculture Society as that of bringing together professionals and fish farmers and to serve as “a clearing‐house for information, problems, and future hopes of people from all walks of life.” The first issue justified increased aquaculture research based on future needs for greater supplies of protein throughout the world. Articles published in the earliest issues focused on production methods for oysters, clams, shrimp, channel catfish, striped bass, pompano, fish feeds and nutrition, pathogens and treatment methods, genetics and breeding, engineering, economics/marketing/business management, and relevant laws and regulations related to aquaculture. In 1986, the proceedings became the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society.

Throughout the years, JWAS has stayed true to its mission of effective dissemination of research information directed toward contributing to the growth and development of sustainable aquaculture enterprises of all scales. While JWAS publishes articles from a wide variety of different disciplines, the thread that binds these various topics is the contribution that each makes to the growth and development of production aquaculture in various world regions. The continued growth of aquaculture enterprises will depend on research that results in breakthroughs of production bottlenecks and solutions to the complex problems (whether biological, engineering, economic, or social) faced by owners and managers of aquaculture enterprises (Engle, 2016).

Aquaculture has grown and developed in phenomenal ways over the past 50 years in terms of the total volume of production, the percent of global seafood supplies composed of aquaculture products, international trade, and the number of species farmed and traded. In many respects, aquaculture has become a mature industry, one with well‐established infrastructure and established markets, and also one that has attracted the attention of regulatory authorities and various types of activist groups.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of JWAS throughout 2019, this is an appropriate time to reflect on the need for the aquaculture research community to redouble its efforts to tackle the most critical problems faced by aquaculture farmers. The complexity of the issues faced by entrepreneurs attempting to build sustainable aquaculture businesses is far greater than it was 50 years ago, and the need to increase food supplies is more pressing than ever.

JWAS continues to seek manuscripts that make substantive contributions to the growth and development of aquaculture through research that breaks through critical bottlenecks and provides workable solutions to problems faced by aquaculture producers worldwide.