General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

International Symposium on Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences looks forward to a more innovative aquaculture sector


05/11/2022

Nearly 200 experts, scientists and academics from 23 countries gathered in Trabzon, Türkiye, from 25 to 27 October 2022 to attend the International Symposium of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (SOFAS 2022), organized by the GFCM in collaboration with the Central Fisheries Research Institute (SUMAE).  

This unique event aimed promote aquaculture techniques and practices on a larger scale in order to further the development of the sector in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. 

In particular, the symposium presented the latest advances in the region in feed technologies, genetic improvements and restocking. It also included trainings on genetics, algae farming, diseases in cultured finfish species and allocated zones for aquaculture and familiarized participants with both the SUMAE facilities and local aquaculture farms through field visits. 

On the left, nearly 200 experts, scientists and academics from 23 countries gathered in Trabzon, Türkiye. On the right, Workshops, presentations, field visits and hands-on trainings were available at the symposium ©GFCM/Film Icabi

“SOFAS 2022 represented an important milestone for the GFCM, as it provided the unique opportunity to share, with all stakeholders, the latest innovations and knowledge through workshops and hands-on trainings towards the blue transformation of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea,” highlighted Houssam Hamza, GFCM Aquaculture Officer. 

The symposium kicked off with an opening ceremony featuring welcome addresses from Ercan Küçük, Head of SUMAE, İlhan Aydın, Associate Professor and Chairperson of the symposium, İbrahim Halil Sözmen, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies of Türkiye (TAGEM), İsmail Ustaoğlu, Governor of Trabzon, and Houssam Hamza, GFCM Aquaculture Officer. 

“The Turkish government and the GFCM have a history of fruitful collaboration through the establishment of the Aquaculture Demonstration Centre. This collaboration now continues within SOFAS 2022, an initiative that has been ten years in the making,’’ said İlhan Aydın. 

Workshops, field visits and hands-on training 

The programme continued with an intense three days of workshops, presentations, field visits and hands-on trainings at the state-of-the-art GFCM Aquaculture Demonstration Centre hosted by SUMAE. 

During the first two days of the symposium, participants attended presentations and received training on a variety of topics such as the establishment of allocated zones for aquaculture, macro and microalgae farming, finfish genetics and diseases, and turbot farming and restocking. As a complement to these sessions, participants gained hands-on experience by feeding, tagging and releasing turbot specimens at sea and setting seaweed lines.  

Participants gained hands-on experience by feeding, tagging and releasing turbot specimens at sea and setting seaweed lines ©GFCM/Film Icabi

“I am really excited to attend this big event: we are sharing our experiences with each other on many topics,” said Dorra Wechtati, participant from Tunisia.  

“The work on seaweed is amazing. Working on the genetics and building the standards help pave the way for a sustainable and scalable seaweed industry in the future,” noted Antoine Erwes, participant from France and president of the think tank Seaweed First.  

The final day of the symposium took participants away from the city centre for a field visit to a trout farm, where they gained insights into farm operations and the application of aquaculture technologies. “We grow some the fish in cages and in raceways, but we also supply fish to other farmers who have cages at sea. The hatchery is located a bit further down the road. We buy the eggs during the summer and we produce our owns in autumn,’’ explained Hüseyin İnan, owner of Inan Trout Farm, to participants while showcasing the farm.  

The final day of the symposium took participants away from the city centre for a field visit to a trout farm ©GFCM/Film Icabi

At the end of this busy programme, participants expressed their satisfaction with the event, noting that the new skills, knowledge and networking gained would help them exchange ideas and practices and expand their area of work. Equipped with new experience, they will now have the opportunity to contribute to building modern and environmentally friendly aquaculture in their own countries, in line with the targets set by the GFCM 2030 Strategy for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. 

 

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