Inspiring a generation in South Africa
27 June 2017
– Skretting and Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium are together helping put African aquaculture on the map
At the end of June 2017, more than 2,000 delegates from across the global aquaculture industry and related sectors are attending World Aquaculture 2017 conference in Cape Town, organised by the World Aquaculture Society (WAS). This is the first time that this major event has been held on Subsahara African soil, marking the fast-growing importance of fish farming to the continent.
Skretting has long supported the African aquaculture market, ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality fish feed products. It has underlined this commitment with the opening of dedicated plants in Egypt, Nigeria and most recently Zambia, in addition to expanding its already considerable export activities to countries in West Africa and beyond.
"Being in Africa and supporting its growth is absolutely crucial for Skretting and our parent company Nutreco, because our clearly stated mission is 'Feeding the Future'. A lot of the global population growth over the coming 30 years is going to be here – rising from around 1 billion people currently to 2 billion inhabitants by 2050 – and we must ensure that there is sufficient food security in place to feed all those extra mouths. There is no doubt that aquaculture will play a very important part in that requirement," says Hans Vink, Manager of Skretting Africa.
"Just taking Nigeria; its present population of 200 million people is forecast to reach 450-500 million by 2050, which is 1.5 times the current US population. It is abundantly clear that something needs to happen on the food production side. It is a very big challenge for all of us, which is why it is very pleasing to see WAS also taking up this challenge and hosting its conference in Cape Town, with a strong focus on progressing sustainable aquaculture across Africa."
Hosting Tilapia Nutrition Symposium
Through its ambition to support the progress of African aquaculture, Skretting has got fully behind the conference in Cape Town. It is sponsoring and hosting a special seminar at the event, called 'Tilapia Nutrition Symposium', which will focus particularly on tilapia feeds, feed ingredients and nutrition and will be chaired by Dr Arjen Roem, Technical Director at Skretting Africa and Dr Lourens De Wet, Director of Nutrition Hub (formerly University of Stellenbosch).
Both experts have a keen interest in applying nutritional advances into practical feed solutions for local fish farmers. Furthermore, at least three of the nine presentations will come from Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC) and its research partners. These include:
Nutra Lifestart for Tilapia – Dr Arjen Roem (Skretting) will present his digestible protein research on tilapia fry and fingerlings that has been the basis to develop a new global tilapia starter in Skretting.
Fish Health Modulation Through Nutrition – Dr Polyana F da Silva (Skretting ARC) has conducted considerable research to develop a balanced support-diet which could optimise growth, improve nutrient utilisation, decrease production costs, maintain normal health and minimise the impact of overwhelming disease outbreaks. This work was a major contributor to the development of Skretting's Protec Tilapia health diet.
Nutritious Ponds – PhD student Devi Hermsen from Wageningen University will present new innovative steps to develop more sustainable pond farming of fish and shrimp. Her work is sponsored by Skretting ARC and Skretting Vietnam. Her particular focus is on fatty acid dynamics in pond ecosystems. The concept is to develop nutritious pond diets that provide both optimal nutrition for farmed fish and unleashing production of the natural micro-organisms that can also function as natural food.
Collaboration with the Two Oceans Aquarium
Further to the symposium and its presence at the event's trade show, through Skretting's special longstanding relationship with Cape Town's world famous Two Oceans Aquarium, all conference delegates will be given a free pass to visit the aquarium throughout the week of the event. These passes are being jointly sponsored by Skretting and Two Oceans.
Taking its name from the two oceans that meet at Cape Town's shoreline – the Atlantic Ocean on the western side of Africa and the Indian Ocean on the east – the Two Oceans Aquarium is one of Cape Town's biggest attractions, alongside Table Mountain and the Waterfront, attracting up to 500,000 visitors a year. Skretting has sponsored its Atlantic Ocean Gallery for the last two years and contributes to the development and maintenance costs of interpretive displays, including its touch pool and microscope areas. Skretting is also assisting the aquarium in looking at sustainable and healthy ways of developing enrichment feeds for its fish exhibits.
"The aquarium is a very special place to visit. Apart from taking marine conservation very seriously, it is highly involved in sustainability issues and shares very similar values and a lot of common ground with Skretting. It is also a very important educator, particularly of young people – providing consumer education on a variety of topics, including aquaculture, making it a very good connection for us," says Vink.
Maryke Musson, Curator at Two Oceans Aquarium, explains that exhibits and trained guides are used by the aquarium to convey sustainability messages, while all the talks and presentations given during feeding times emphasise the importance of making environmentally responsible choices.
The aquarium also collaborates with the City of Cape Town Municipality and has developed the Smart Living Exhibit and Outreach programmes which create awareness around sustainable management of energy, waste, water and consumer choices. Additionally, it has initiated an active environmental campaigns platform, with one of its best known schemes, Re-Think the bag, being adopted by various retailers in the attempt to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.
"We are involved in so many sustainability spheres as it is the core of our messaging and drives our mission, which is 'Healthy Oceans for Life'," says Musson.
"Cape Town is a fantastic city, and the conference delegates will certainly have a wonderful time here, but I think it is important to have it in South Africa to contribute to creating awareness around responsible aquaculture," she says. "Aquaculture more often than not gets quite a bad wrap, which sometimes can be justifiable, but I also believe that if consumers have access to more information, and even realise how regulated aquaculture is and how much of what we eat is actually farmed, there might be a different approach to aquaculture all together.
"In South Africa, the industry is incredibly well controlled and managed, and from first-hand experience, abroad as well. Having WAS 2017 here will certainly contribute to creating more awareness to a farming practice that has to contribute to feeding the growing population in a sustainable manner."
World Aquaculture 2017 is taking place 26-30 June at the Cape Town Convention Centre, South Africa