December 15, 2021

President's Column December 2021

Dear WAS members, we are living extremely difficult times where our ability to adapt is more important than ever. Due to the recent emergence of the omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus and the extensive restrictions being put in place now, with more restrictions projected, we have been obliged to postpone AFRAQ21 to 25-28 March 2022. I am confident that our global team has taken every consideration to guarantee the safety of our members, partners, participants and guests. More than ever, WAS is proving to be a very resilient organization and, despite current events, we are consolidating and strengthening our position globally. I would like to extend my highest recognition to John Cooksey and his team for all their efforts and adaptability that have been challenged at the highest levels.

The WAS Board looks forward to returning to some degree of normalcy with our meetings in 2022. However, COVID remains with us and continues to create uncertainty, particularly with respect to restrictions on international travel. Therefore, to better accommodate to our members’ needs, the Board is making the following exceptions to standard policies for 2022:

1. Annual Membership Meeting (AMM), which may also be known as the Annual Meeting (terminology used in By-Laws) or the Business Meeting. To better accommodate a membership that may be experiencing travel restrictions, we will hold three equivalent in-person AMMs in 2022. The regularly scheduled AMM will occur at Aquaculture 2022 in San Diego to serve our North American members. The second AMM will occur at World Aquaculture 2021 in Mérida, Mexico, in May 2022 to serve our Latin American and Caribbean members. The third AMM will be held at World Aquaculture Singapore 2022 in Nov/Dec 2022 to serve our Asian-Pacific members. At each of these meetings, at least a subset of Officers and Directors will be available to provide updates on Society activities and answer questions. As the pandemic has strained the Society’s finances with respect Officer/Director travel, all three AMMs will include a virtual component.

2. Board Meeting. The Board voted to move the scheduled Board meeting from San Diego to Mérida to allow more time for travel to return to normal and thus provide a better opportunity for holding an in-person meeting. Virtual Board meetings may be held as necessary during either the San Diego or Singapore conferences.

3. Change of Officers and Directors. New terms for Officers and Directors normally begin at the end of the regularly scheduled AMM, which in this case would have been San Diego. However, because we will be holding three AMMs this year, we will change Officers/Directors at the end of the AMM in Mérida.

All other Society functions are expected to operate normally in 2022. We hope these changes allow for greater engagement among the Board and the membership as we continue to navigate these challenging times.

Regardless of the difficult times, aquaculture has grown in relevance globally. Proof of that is in the Shanghai Declaration, which was adopted on September 25, and the importance that was given to aquaculture during the Food System Summit in New York and at the Glasgow COP 26. I hope we will have time for additional discussions about these topics at our upcoming events.

Finally, I would just like to wish to you all — aquaculture professionals and enthusiasts around the world — that during this holiday season you are surrounded by your family and loved ones; and that peace, harmony and love fill your homes. I sincerely wish with all my heart that happiness, joy and good health accompany you and your loved ones during all of 2022. The best for this season and the year to come! — Antonio Garza de Yta, President

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About Dr. Antonio Garza de Yta

WAS President 2021 - 2022. Antonio Garza de Yta, a renowned international aquaculture professional, who holds a Masters degree and a Ph.D. in Aquaculture from the University of Auburn, USA. He is an aquaculture expert, FAO frequent consultant, as well as a specialist in strategic planning. Ex-director of Extension and International Training for the University of Auburn and creator of the Certification for Aquaculture Professionals in that academic institution.

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