Aquaculture: Modern Systems, Obstacles, and Challenges, Improper Management – March 18th 2024

Last webinar titled “Aquaculture: Modern Systems, Obstacles, and Challenges, Improper Management,” hosted by STOR (Scientific and Technical Office of REMESA), marked a significant milestone in promoting networking and exchange of experiences among experts and researchers coming from North Africa, Middle East and South-West Europe. The webinar was attended by approximately one hundred participants belonging REMESA member countries and different audiences including Public Veterinary Officers, Universities, Researchers, Laboratory experts, underscoring the collective commitment to advancing aquaculture practices in the Mediterranean region.

The webinar has began with a warm welcome from Guido Ruggero Loria, Resident Technical Advisor of STOR, alongside Dr. Rachid Bouguedour and Dr. Sghaier Soufien from the WOAH – FAO REMESA Secretariat of Tunis. Moderation duties were expertly handled by Dr. Nadia Cherif and Dr. Francesco Valentini, which have driven the works to engage and insightful session.

Distinguished experts in the field, including Dr. Mohamed Salah Azaza, Dr. Mohamed Masood Wael Abdelwahab, Dr. Manfrin Amedeo, and Dr. Anna Toffan, shared their experience to develop a healthy, productive and moreover, sustainable aquaculture. Topics ranged from administrative and regulatory aspects to environmental risks linked to intensive production, disease affecting aquatic farming and marketing implication. A particular emphasis was placed on biosafety management, with discussions on prevalent diseases and the emerging risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Furthermore, speakers provided valuable insights into future perspectives for Mediterranean aquaculture, showing advancements in technology and innovative solutions to industry-wide challenges.

As reflected upon, the webinar served as a platform for robust discourse, deepening understanding of the sector’s complexities and paving the way for sustainable growth and resilience in a period of climate change. Looking ahead, the STOR remains committed to advancing veterinary science and aquaculture within the Mediterranean basin and moreover to identify reference experts and laboratories for the countries of REMESA Network. Anticipated future engagements and collaborative endeavours will further contribute to the collective vision for a thriving and interconnected scientific community.

Aquaculture represents today the world’s fastest growing sector of agricultural business, according to the constant increase of human population, fish farming has become one of the most important sectors in order to meet the increasing demand for animal-origin proteins. World fish food supply has grown considerably in the last five decades, with an annual average growth rate of 3% in the period of 1961-2009. Fish and fishery products represent a very valuable source of protein and essential micronutrients for balanced nutrition and good health. Currently, fish account for almost 20% of the world population intake of animal protein and 10% of all protein consumed.

In aquaculture industry, the need for massive stocks and related intensive management is a necessities to cope with increased production. However, it generates stressful environment for fish and often -results in low water quality and dramatic increase in diseases’ incidence in fish farms.Besides, still many constraints are affecting aquaculture including water quality, lack of technical expertise, high cost of feeding and, moreover, environmental conditions of fish farming that create severe ecological impact, as a result fish disease outbreaks have become a serious constraint to aquaculture development.

Prevention and control of fish diseases rely mainly on use of antibiotics and disinfectants. Nowadays, recent consumer demand was raised for stressed quality without concomitant pollutants and antibiotics, especially due to the awareness of the risk of antibiotic resistance. Finally, there is an increasing interest in consuming organic and environmentally-friend food.

One of the most interesting approaches in aquaculture sector is ensuring application of biosecurity procedures to prevent introduction and spread of disease-causing organisms, many aquatic invasive species, promote fish and human health, and protect economic investment.

This webinar represents a great occasion and opportunity for participants from REMESA Mediterranean countries to gather much information and knowledge in aquaculture sector, regarding global and regional status of this industry, challenges, management and sustainability of aquaculture, biosecurity measures, future perspectives, and moreover, the role of women in fish production. Participants will stand upon the recent achievements and advanced technologies in aquaculture production. This webinar aims to increase the awareness of participants to fulfil the One Health concept.

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