September 21, 2021

President's Column September 2021

After more than one year of cancelling or postponing our meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are back in business with in-person meetings! Aquaculture America 2021 took place in the beautiful city of San Antonio, Texas during 11-14 August 2021. The event venue was the Marriot River Center, which hosted around 1,000 participants. Although the meeting was not as big as a regular WAS conference, the comradery and willingness to support the aquaculture industry was present. Everyone that attended left with a smile on their face. I had the opportunity to sit during the USAS board meeting, currently our largest chapter, and can confirm that it is in great hands. We shared many opinions and agreed that there are still many opportunities to improve cooperation and communication between the chapter and the mother society. We concurred that we will keep moving forward towards a more diverse and inclusive society, that incorporates all points-of-view and encourages the participation of students and young aquaculturists.

The conference started with an outstanding plenary presentation on “U.S. Aquaculture and the Pandemic: Impacts, Near Misses, the Future?” by Carole Engle. During this plenary, Carole described what U.S. farmers experienced throughout the pandemic and what could be learned from it. She commented on what the future holds for aquaculture in the United States, as well the opportunities that are arising. The plenary highlighted what farmers, researchers, extension specialists, and land-grant university administrators have to do to be positioned to take advantage of opportunities. Carole sent a very clear message of the importance of joining aquaculture associations and being active, the importance of the communication among all aquaculture stakeholders, staying true to the land-grant mission, not letting go of extension positions and working towards farmers’ needs. The most important message was that any individual can make a difference in aquaculture and that we all should get involved and do our best.

As we all know, the pandemic is still affecting many parts of the world, although vaccination rates are increasing in many countries and in-person events like the one in San Antonio will start once again serving the aquaculture sector. WAS is currently planning to have events in Singapore (December 5-8) and Egypt (Dec 11-14) this year. As of the writing of this column, both are confirmed. We will keep you updated through the WAS website (www.was.org) of any changes and/or all the sanitary protocols that will be followed during the meeting; the safety of our members is our top priority. For next year we will start our events with the triennial in San Diego, California (February 28 - March 4) and Merida, Mexico (May 24 - 27), which unfortunately had to be reprogrammed from this year due to the third wave of the pandemic that is currently affecting the LAC region. I am confident that the new dates will increase worldwide participation and the overall quality of the event. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Despite everything that is happening in the world, the aquaculture sector is still growing in both volume and importance. More and more people are turning their eyes to our industry as the most reliable source of sustainable protein. I feel confident that the future is bright for all of us; let’s keep standing all together for the benefit of aquaculture. I could not agree more with what Carole Engle exposed during her plenary, the future of aquaculture and our Society depends on how much we get involved and try to make a difference. See you soon at one of our events!
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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