Nearly 2,000 aquaculture professionals from all over the world gathered in Cape Town, South Africa in June for the annual conference of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS), World Aquaculture 2017 (WA 2017). AquaFish Innovation Lab partners and students from Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Brazil, and the US shared their work among peers across various WA 2017 sessions, including a technical session hosted by the AquaFish Innovation Lab.

The conference theme, “Sustainable Aquaculture - New Frontiers for Economic Growth - Spotlight on Africa,” showcased opportunities for aquaculture production as a mechanism to promote and support economic development in Africa. Taking advantage of the African “spotlight” theme, WAS launched its Africa Chapter, marking a significant milestone for aquaculture in Africa and beyond. At the launch, over 1,200 African members from 33 African countries were recognized and approved to join the chapter. Read the full story, titled “World Aquaculture Society Launches Africa Chapter” on the AquaFish Innovation Lab News and Events page.

AquaFish Innovation Lab Director, Dr. Hillary Egna, and Regional Center of Excellence Coordinator for Africa, Dr. Steve Amisah, chaired the AquaFish Technical Session, which provided a forum for AquaFish Innovation Lab researchers and students to share research findings, lessons learned, and much more. The AquaFish Innovation Lab session was well-attended and the 20 presenters engaged the audience on a variety of topics including alternative feed methods, women in aquaculture, and methods to increase  household nutrition, among others. Check out the full list of presentations and abstracts on the AquaFish Session webpage of the WA 2017 website.

Two presenters of the AquaFish Technical Session were recognized for their presentation style, organization, flow of information, and innovative content. Dr. Scott Salger, Postdoctoral Research Scholar from North Carolina State University, was awarded Best Overall Presentation for his presentation titled, “Nutritional control of growth, gut microbiome, and intestinal nutrient transporters in Nile tilapia.” Elizabeth Obado, AquaFish Innovation Lab Master’s student from University of Eldoret in Kenya, was awarded Best Student Presentation for her presentation titled, “The effect of commercial and experimental diets on growth performance of Oreochromis niloticus fingerlings reared in hapas suspended in earthen ponds.” Dr. Egna said, “Obado showed great poise while answering numerous and challenging questions from the audience.”

In addition to the AquaFish Technical Session, Dr. Egna also presented research titled, “Assessing the authorship gender gap in aquaculture-related publications” during the Gender session. Be sure to check out Dr. Egna’s abstract as well as the other gender-related presentations on the Gender Session webpage of the WA 2017 website. The AquaFish Innovation Lab Management Team also presented four posters highlighting AquaFish Innovation Lab’s role in advancing climate smart aquaculture and mobile phone technologies, building human and institutional capacity, and reaching women and youth in Africa.

In an effort to increase accessibility to aquaculture innovation and knowledge sharing, participation, and networking, the AquaFish Innovation Lab collaborated with WAS to provide conference fellowships to five African professionals. The fellows were The five Africans listed below were awarded with the African Professional Fellowship:

  1. Abudala Napuru, Aquaculture Enterprise Malawi, Malawi

  2. Jean Fall, University Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture, University of Dhakar, Senegal

  3. Judith Amadiva, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries Development, Kenya

  4. Margareth Mbwana, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania

  5. Oludare Akanni Adeogun, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography & Marine Research, Nigeria

The AquaFish Innovation Lab also awarded five African students with the Best African Student Abstract Award for abstracts that were well written, in alignment with the AquaFish Innovation Lab’s mission and objectives, and demonstrated high scientific merit. The following five students were recognized for their achievement:

  1. Kolawole Akinoshun, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

  2. Abisola Akinyemi, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

  3. Akua Akuffo, Purdue University, US

  4. Samwel Limbu, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  5. Gifty Anane-Taabeah, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, US

The AquaFish Innovation Lab was thrilled to take part in the historical milestones achieved at WA 2017. The conference provided an exciting outlet to share research and lessons learned, broaden the AquaFish Innovation Lab’s network, and highlight the expanding potential for aquaculture in Africa. Attendees in Africa and across the world were able to gain inspiration and knowledge necessary to continue tackling global aquaculture challenges.