Aquaculture in Europe and in countries bordering the Mediterranean and Black Seas is an important activity that has grown substantially during the past decades though mostly in Mediterranean and Black Sea riparian countries. Fish farming helps to meet the rising demand for fisheries products and contributes to food security, employment and economic development. In terms of blue growth, aquaculture constitutes a strategic sector for future sustainable development. This growth was possible thanks to a series of factors, such as improvements in fish feed performance, better control of pathogens, and the evolution of cage and land-based technologies. Political will, regional and international cooperation, and significant investments, both public and private, have also strongly contributed to the sector’s development. In addition, new market opportunities positively influenced this expansion as well.
Growth in the sector is expected to continue in the future and the time is ripe to take stock of the recent progress aquaculture has made to improve the cross-disciplinary cooperation and knowledge sharing that is expected to be critical for aquaculture to fulfil the promise it has shown. With this in mind, EUROFISH, in collaboration with the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forestry Policies and Tourism, and the Italian Fish Farmers Association (API), organised an international conference, Aquaculture Today and Tomorrow: Unlock the Potential, in Verona on 16-17 May. The event hosted 22 speakers in 4 sessions covering the current status and challenges of the aquaculture sector and how to realize its potential. Sustainable aquaculture practices and innovative solutions were also presented along with how to expand the farmed seafood market. Over 100 participants from 28 countries attended the event which featured a visit to fish farm Agroittica Lombarda, the 3rd largest caviar producer in the world. The programme and presentations are available at: www.eurofish.dk/att.