Conference welcomed to Turkey by DG for Fisheries & Aquaculture
Dr Durali Kocak, Director General for Fisheries & Aquaculture, Turkish Ministry of Food Agriculture & Livestock welcomed delegates to the Conference
Dr Durali Kocak of the Turkish Ministry of Food Agriculture & Livestock, gave a positive and forward thinking Welcome Address.
The 4th Offshore Mariculture Conference opened with a rousing welcome from the host Ministry. Many issues were covered on the first day including environmental sustainability and water quality; improvements in cage technology, both structural and operational; enlarging cage size; and, of course, commercial feasibility and availability of investment capital. In addition the constraints and obstacles - some due to regulation and environmentalist groups lobbying and resistance, not always objectively justified, were also raised.
Attendees at the Conference included both experienced and aspiring investors and entrepreneurs; fish farm owners, managers and operators; makers and distributors of net pens and mesh materials; feedstuff suppliers and feed manufacturers; and researchers into new species, new farm technologies, genetics, and fish health. Over 25 nationalities were represented at the Conference, including attendees from Chile, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, UK, USA, Australia, Israel and the Lebanon.
The Conference heard Keynote presentations from Alessandro Lovatelli, FAO Aquaculture Officer; Paul Holthus of World Ocean Council; and Harald Rosenthal who had Chaired the Bremerhaven Conference. Each spoke of the opportunity and the imperative for aquaculture’s rights and responsibilities to be better defined in ABNJ. Mr Holthus described how many international conventions and agreements regarding ABNJ are either already established, or are under discussion, without any real consideration of the potential for aquaculture, and with minimal consultation with industry.
Other presentations explored a range of planning and management tools that are being set up around the world – the Philippines, Australia, the Basque country of Spain, and host country Turkey – to better integrate aquaculture into coastal planning initiatives. New species development, provision of seed (fish fingerlings or bivalve spat) and feed developments for offshore mariculture were also reviewed.
Michael Ebeling, of the Wegner Institute in Germany, and Dr Amir Neori of the Israeli Oceanographic institute (together with Gamze Turan of Ege University) spoke on the potential to co-locate aquaculture and offshore energy projects such as wind farms, and the prospects and need for macroalgae culture in offshore locations. Economic analysis of the co-location plans suggests that mussels may prove profitable, but fin-fish and macroalgae culture require further engineering to achieve efficient scale and valued products.
On the second day of the Conference, a number of presentations highlighted engineering improvements to offshore net pen systems, including dramatic video footage of sharks trying in vain to break through Dyneema’s Pred-X (by Margot van Wunnick and Felipe Ramirez of DSM-Dyneema), and AKVA’s Econet / Kikkonet (Douglas Johnson of AKVA, with input on new mesh sizes from Massimo Branzanti of Maccaferri), along with data demonstrating the antifouling properties of brass alloy meshes (Dr Murat Yigit of Canakkale University, in conjunction with International Copper Association). The day also included reviews of new developments in single-point mooring systems for self-submerging surface pens (Mohamed Shainee of Norway’s NTNU) and for shrimp culture in Aquapods (Steve Page of Ocean Farms Technologies), tension leg cages (Darko Lisac of RefaMed) and testing of more robust surface pens and unanchored ‘drifter cages’ (Sims, of Kampachi Farms). New advances in net pens and service vessels for exposed Norwegian salmon farm sites were presented by Finn Willumsen of AquaCulture Engineering AS, and Mats Heide of SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, respectively. Individual farm sites in Norway are now up to 12,000 T production capacity, using 160 m diameter net pens, and serviced with boats over 80 m in length.
On the last afternoon of sessions, Hayri Deniz of the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock gave an overview of the government’s role in supporting industry expansion, including regulations intended to foster farm growth further offshore, as part of integrated coastal management plans. Turkey now has the 3rd fastest growth rate in aquaculture globally, he stated. This was then followed by two company presentations detailing the rapid expansion in seabass and sea bream production in Turkey. Oznur Yildiz of Kilic Sea Products described her company’s present rate of growth at over 40% per year. Ozlem Guzel of Camli Feed Products and Pinar Aquaculture outlined the vertically integrated approach of her company, and the broader Turkish industry.
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