Dear All

I trust your summer growing season is off to a good start and that you will be reaching record breaking production levels this year!

As most of you are no doubt aware, the AASA conference and workshops took place last week.

TAASA made a presentation and this was generally well received with a number of delegates afterwards commenting favourably on the information we put forward regarding the tilapia sector in SA.

There were a number of interesting presentations and I would like to highlight the following:

-  Dr Bondad-Reantaso  (FAO, Rome) highlighted the fact that aquaculture, as with other forms of agriculture, has an increasing critical role to play in light of the expanding global population. It has become apparent that we are rapidly reaching an inflection point where the production of food (including fish) is going to become vitally important to ensure mutually beneficial co-existence for all nations.

 She also noted that bio-security is becoming a very important challenge for farmers and that the outbreak of diseases is potentially one of the most catastrophic challenges farmers can face.

  - Dr Fitzsimmons (University of Arizona, USA) highlighted key points in the growth trajectory of tilapia farming across the globe. Of particular interest to farmers is that prices have remained stable, while demand continues to increase and the market for value adding is also growing strongly.

 - Dr Roderick (Fishgen Ltd/University of Wales Swansea) shared the development trajectory of the YY super male technology and explained the importance of sound genetic development for successful farming.

 -  Dr Ebeling (Research Engineer)  unpacked the rapid development of RAS systems over the past few decades and how advances in technology have allowed for greater biomass loading. From a farmer’s perspective he emphasised the fact that RAS is in fact a life support system for fish and that the various parts of a system need to be working in harmony for it to function at an optimal level.

This is by no means a comprehensive review of the activities at the conference and there were many more interesting perspectives shared.

During our time at the conference we had a discussion with representatives of Operation Phakisa with respect to developments on the aquaculture front. We were informed that the CSIR is now assisting with pro bono EIAs. The information is available on the website ( please note there are qualification criteria for this assistance and you need to review the documentation carefully.