At the same time he asked the major aquaculture companies represented at this global conference to continue to look beyond their bottom line and share knowledge and partner with the small fish farmers in developing countries. Success for aquaculture in addressing global hunger needs that partnership with the large companies helping to make the inputs more affordable and enabling the small producers to export their products. If the industry leaders do that it will accelerate the reduction in hunger and lead to sustainable food production. He added that aquaculture also needs the facilitation of governments and support of society because we are struggling today to feed seven billion people. In 2050 it will be nine billion.
Kofi Annan speaking at AquaVision 2012. (Photo: Jan Inge Haga)
Small-scale production of fish can be located widely, in ponds as well as lakes and on the coast, and it can be integrated with water conservation. The farming of fish is about more than producing food, it is good protein that provides excellent nutrition and generates a means of earning an income, leading to economic development. It brings dignity and self-respect. In particular, women are often involved in these small scale enterprises and when that happens their children benefit from better nutrition. Hunger and poor nutrition damage health and inhibit development and growth, which leads to continuing failure. He quoted the example of Malawi where introducing fish ponds on small farms increased income by 60 per cent.
Kofi Annan congratulated the industry for its focus on improving sustainability, with initiatives such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, then asked for more attention to the potential long-term impacts of climate change to increase productivity in conditions to come, in the developing countries as well as the developed world. Reviewing the industries current approach to improving productivity and sustainability he commented; “I do not ask you to change direction, but I ask you to accelerate progress. We need to work together if we are to overcome world hunger.”
AquaVision 2012 is being attended by the maximum capacity of 430 registered delegates from around 33 countries. Organised by Skretting and Nutreco since 1996, AquaVision is now established as a world-class conference that attracts a diverse range of stakeholders to Stavanger every two years.