AquaVision 2024: A look at aquaculture's challenges and opportunities

Bastiaan van Tilburg at AquaVision 2024

AquaVision 2024 has left 450 participants from more than 50 countries with great memories of networking and inspiring presentations from a wide range of highly skilled speakers. Below, you can read about some of the highlights from the 15th edition of AquaVision.

Acting towards a sustainable future

The morning kicked off with Thomas Tvedt, a Stavanger-based singer who was the finalist on The Voice Norway 2023. Thomas is visually impaired, but he is blessed with heavenly vocals which moved the audience. He was a tough act to follow, according to our new Nutreco CEO David Blakemore. Having assumed the role just 10 days before, David introduced himself to the room, and talked about Nutreco's role in feeding the world's rapidly growing population. "In Nutreco we have over a century of experience providing high-quality nutrition to the animal and aquaculture industry. Feeding the Future is not just our purpose, it's also our passion and responsibility," he said. 

The next speakers after David dived into the topic of sustainability. Gonzalo Muñoz, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, IUCN President, concisely summarised the severity of this challenge when he said early on in his presentation: "Getting to net zero by 2050 is massive. We've been really slow and things need to change exponentially." 

Dealing with market disruption in an ever-changing world

The stage for the second session on market disruptions was set by none other than the world-renowned economist Professor Paul Krugman. He gave a very interesting overview of the state of the world economy today, talking about the economic impacts of Covid-19 ("we've bounced back very quickly"), inflation, the influence of technology and artificial intelligence, climate change, globalisation, and of course, politics. 

Claudia Salem from Santa Priscila gave an excellent presentation on innovation, and so did Dag Sletmo from DNB Seafood, and Mark Gallagher from F1. There were also useful insights from Dr Santhana Krishnan, CEO of Marine Technologies, and Jason Yang, General Manager of Nutreco China. Both of them talked about India and China respectively, and it was interesting to hear their perspectives on the growth opportunities that lie in these markets. 

Beyond tomorrow

Anita Schjøll Abildgaard, CEO of, had people sitting up on the morning of Day 2, as she talked about artificial intelligence. She painted a vivid picture about how the conversation around AI has evolved throughout her career, as it has gained greater visibility and acceptance among the general public. "This is the slowest the technology is ever going to develop, and this is the worst it's ever going to be. We're in for a ride," she promised. She also talked about the issues and ethics around AI that the world is only starting to scratch the surface of. Lastly, she talked about what the executives in the aquaculture industry need to be looking out for, such as real-time video processing and fully autonomous devices. "You don't need a PhD in machine learning to be a driver of innovation," she said. "But it's important for you to embrace it, and see how you can potentially integrate AI to make your lives more streamlined."

The session was also chock-full of fantastic presentations where the audience got sneak peeks at some of today's most revolutionary innovations, from Nutreco's Garden of the Future, to Aker BioMarine's fully autonomous drone that can catch krill in the Antarctica. Knut Nesse from AKVA Group talked about the importance of new technology to drive the industry forward, and we saw an example of their technology in use in Nordic Aqua Partner's brand new facility in China. 

To end off the conference, Skretting's CEO Bastiaan van Tilburg played a little tune on the piano as a tribute to the opening act Thomas Tvedt. Instead of focusing on his sight limitations, Thomas chose to use his strengths. "Likewise, we have to link the challenges we have in our industry, to the expertise that is gathered in this room," said Bastiaan. He also took the opportunity to echo his predecessor Therese Log Bergjord's call to the industry to work together. "But let's not work together in isolation. We need to tell our wonderful stories wider, and bring them outside this room."