Snapshot: Universities in Aquaculture development.

It’s in record that aquaculture is the fastest growing form of animal production. This trend is driven by recent changes in food preference – increased consumption of white meat, diversification of economic activities, increased income and R&D. According to FAO 2018, capture fishery production has been relatively static since the late 1980s so aquaculture’s impressive growth has filled this void.

To ensure that aquaculture economically sound and sustainable, governments and private ventures have channeled huge budgets towards this sector. Some of the key players in aquaculture development are universities which are at the forefront to develop sustainable production systems, do research in fish feeds (nutrition), larval culture, aquaculture economics and genetics.

Just to mention a few of the academic institutions, Auburn university school of fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic sciences research, teaching and extension has trained thousands of aquaculture experts globally. Its International Center for Aquaculture has conducted development activities in more than 100 countries in many regions of the world (sfaas.auburn.edu). Working closely with Auburn University is the Aquafish innovation lab (formerly Aquafish CRSP) of Oregon state university in the college of agricultural sciences. Through USAid funding, this institution has done aquaculture development in 33 countries – Asia, Africa, and Latin America (aquafishcrsp.oregonstate.edu).

Crossing over to Europe, Wageningen university is involved in the whole chain of aquaculture research –breeding, genetics, rearing systems, nutrition… all the way to economic aspects. This university is collaborating with other universities globally. In a more practical perspective, for instance it’s working with business entities such as De Heus (Netherlands based feed supplier with factories in 10 countries) in aquaculture research and development in Vietnam. Note that Vietnam is now ranked 4th in global aquaculture production.

We cannot fail the mention Ghent University which is the home of Aqua Ugent-one of world’s leading research partners for sustainable aquaculture (aqua.ugent.be). It’s in this university that we have the laboratory of aquaculture & artemia reference center (ARC) – renown in culture of fish and shellfish larvae. ARC has footprints in Europe, Asia (especially Vietnam) Latin America and Africa.  Its spin-of company “Artemia Systems NV” (established in 1983) was taken over by INVE Aquaculture NV in 1991. INVE is now a leading aquaculture feed company with branches in many countries in Europe, Asia & the Americas. (aquaculture.ugent.be)

Still in Europe, The institute of aquaculture at the University of Sterling is a world-class aquaculture research, technological innovation and consultancy institution (stir.ac.uk). This institute has links in more than 50 countries and does research in sustainable aquaculture geared towards, aquatic food security…

Therefore it’s clear that universities have channeled substantial about of resources towards aquaculture development globally.  We’d be talking about other universities at a later date.

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