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September 3, 2014


The Tenth Central American Aquaculture Symposium




If you missed the Tenth Central American Aquaculture Symposium (Tegucigalpa, Honduras, August 27-29, 2014), I recommend that you mark your calendar for the “Eleventh Symposium”, which will be held in 2016.  The “Tenth” attracted around 500 attendees, mostly from North, Central and South America, and close to 50 trade show people, selling everything that a shrimp farmer or hatchery manager might need, including hatchery and growout feeds, equipment, accessories and services.


Tegucigalpa Hotel Maya Honduras


ANDAH, the aquaculture association of Honduras, did a wonderful job of organizing and managing the symposium.  Attendees received a 66-page, slick-paper magazine that included all the information needed to navigate the conference.  It contained the five-page program, brief articles in English and Spanish that summarized all the presentations, pictures of the presenters, a map of the trade show, and a list of all the trade show companies.  Also in the registration packet were free tickets to several receptions.  Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch?  ANDAH supplied a wonderful, free buffet lunch every day.  On the last night of the symposium, there was dinner and gala cocktail party.  Finally, at the close of the symposium, ANDAH distributed a thumb drive with all the Power Point presentations on it!


Conference Room Free Lunch


The main conference room had seats for over 500 people, and for some presentations, 90 percent of them were filled, but if you cut out to the trade show, it was also crowded.  The main conference room had three huge screens at the front, and there were TV monitors on the side walls, so if you were to far back to read the up front Power Point presentations, you could read them on one of the TV monitors.  The presentations were either in English or Spanish, and headsets were available for translations.  I asked many of the trades people what they though of the conference, and the most frequent answer was: “It’s one of the best conferences that I’ve ever attended.”  Everyone else that I talked to had a similar response.  There was none of the griping that you frequently hear at conferences.


Dr. Darryl Jory, Senior Scientist at Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems and editor of The Advocate, the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s acclaimed magazine on responsible fish and shellfish farming, gave the keynote presentation, focusing on the global aquaculture industry, its production, its markets and its challenges.  Other presentations covered feeds and nutrition, production technology, insurance, genetics and water quality management—but the topic that dominated the conference was early mortality syndrome (EMS) and ways of preventing it from getting into Central America and procedures to limit its impact if it did get in.



Bellying Up to the Aeration Bar The Trade Show


During the welcoming ceremonies, Victor Wilson, president of ANDAH and general manager of Grupo Granjas Marinas, said, “One of the principal objectives of this symposium is to bring us up to date on EMS, with the objective of trying to avoid this plague and its destructive effects.  We must protect our shareholders, stakeholders and most importantly the thousands of shrimp farm employees, many of whom are poor and depend on us for the employment that keeps them from abject poverty.”


One of the best things about the symposium was that it was all shrimp farmers concentrated in one hotel (Hotel Maya Honduras).  They were everywhere, in the hallways, in the bar, in the pool and in the lobbies.  You could not turn around without bumping into a shrimp farmer.  I’ve always hated the big aquaculture conferences in major cities like Las Vegas, where, when a session ends, everyone disappears into the crowd and you never see them again.  This symposium was not like that.  It was shrimp farming heaven.


Shrimp News: At the symposium, I sat in on most of the presentations, but still managed to do a dozen interviews and collect a bunch of information from participants and trade show people.  It takes a lot of time to transcribe, edit and proof the interviews, so it might be a couple of weeks until I post the first one, but after that, I’ll roll them out on a regular basis.  On the two days following the symposium, I visited Choluteca, the heart of the shrimp farming industry in Honduras and home to Grupo Granjas Marinas, the largest integrated shrimp farm in the Western Hemisphere.   I’ll post the most newsworthy stuff to my webpage first, like info on Grupo Granjas Marinas’ new shrimp farming system, a new report on the shrimp farming situation in Cuba and new developments on the EMS situation in Mexico.


Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, September 3, 2014.

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