GOAL to take place in India in 2019, with a spotlight on shrimp production
The Global Aquaculture Alliance will host its annual GOAL conference in Chennai, India next year – the first time the event has been held in the Southeast Asian country since it began 19 years ago.
Scheduled to run from 21 to 24 October, 2019, next year’s GOAL will be the 20th installment of the event, and will mark the 10th time that the conference has been held in Asia. The event, which attracts aquaculture stakeholders from around the world, most recently convened in Guayaquil, Ecuador in September 2018.
A major player in the global aquaculture industry and the world’s largest shrimp exporter, India is a highly relevant location for the upcoming edition of GOAL - particularly Chennai, where much of the country’s aquaculture activities are based, according to the GAA.
Initial expectations for GOAL 2019 are for it to continue building off of the discussions and topics that circulated last month in Ecuador, GAA President George Chamberlain said.
“A major accomplishment of GOAL 2018 was recognition of an anticipated surge in shrimp production over the next three years and its impact on already-low shrimp prices,” Chamberlain said. “This led to insightful discussions about the need for more accurate, reliable, and frequent shrimp production data and the need to create a unified shrimp marketing program. Allan Cooper of Marinasol presented the Hass Avocado marketing program as a compelling model for the shrimp industry to consider.”
GOAL 2018, which wrapped up on 27 September, drew approximately 375 attendees to Guayaquil, Ecuador, to hear from around 60 expert speakers in the global aquaculture arena.
“Now the challenge for GOAL 2019 in Chennai will be to build upon these ideas, organize a structure and develop effective programs that are crucial to the future of this sector,” Chamberlain said.
An overarching theme of GOAL 2018, according to Global Aquaculture Advocate Editorial Manager James Wright, was the need for “a global effort to share timely and accurate production data.” This collaborative topic was touched upon during the first-ever meeting of shrimp producers from around the world, informally dubbed the Shrimp Information Exchange, during the conference, as well as by Jose Antonio Campusano, CEO of Ecuador’s La Camara Nacional de Acuacultura (the National Chamber of Aquaculture), during his welcoming address.
“Transparency is not negotiable. It’s the brick upon which trust is built. Collaboration is about inclusion. No point to working in isolation or only with those closest to you,” Antonio said.
Wally Stevens, a longtime leader for GAA and a 45-year seafood industry veteran, and Lisa Vollbrecht, research manager at Kampachi Farms in Hawaii, reiterated similar sentiments in their keynote speech.
“For the farmed shrimp industry, which has solved many of its trickiest production problems through collaboration, the issue is now an overabundance of supply. But it’s a demand issue. And demand stabilizes through better marketing. A commitment to better communication and more timely, reliable and transparent production data sharing is crucial to the global trade, year-round. We hope the Shrimp Information Exchange is simply the beginning of a coordinated global effort to bring shrimp producers to the same table,” Stevens said.
“Transparency and traceability are essential for open and honest dialogue both within the industry and with the public. We, as consumers, now have so much information at our fingertips that we come to expect a certain level of visibility into the products and services we use,” Vollbrecht added.
Alongside discussions surrounding many of aquaculture’s most pressing challenges, the GOAL 2018 conference also saw U.S. startup Osmo Systems awarded the Global Aquaculture Innovation Award. Osmo Systems was selected by GOAL 2018’s audience as the award winner for its “Osmobot” product, an advanced water-quality monitoring technology that uses photochemical sensor patches, LEDs, light-reader chips, and algorithms to turn the data it collects into actionable information.
Osmo Systems faced off against two other finalists, VakSea and MNL Group’s Futerpenol product, for the award. Each finalists presented their innovations in a sales-pitch format for the conference’s attendees, who then voted on their favorite via the GOAL mobile app.