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Madeira to host European 2021 Aquaculture Conference

Madeira will host the European Aquaculture Conference from the 4th to the 7th of October 2021. The conference expects to attract around 1,500 researchers, scientists, industrialists and journalists from within the sector.

In preparation for the event, the President of the Regional Government (RG) recently received delegation members from the organization at his official residence at Quinta Vigia.   The meeting was also attended by the Regional Secretary for Sea and Fisheries, Teófilo Cunha, and the Regional Director of the Sea, Mafalda Freitas.

The Aquaculture conference comes under the responsibility of the European Aquaculture Society (EAS) – “Aquaculture Europe 2021,”  and is one of the largest scientific and technical events of its kind in Europe. It brings together a diverse range of specialists from research centres, universities, industrialists and Portuguese companies as well as support from the Regional Government (RG).

The Organizing Committee was tasked with presenting an agenda for the conference to the Regional Director of the Sea that would illustrate the likely impact of the event on the Region and the support necessary for its implementation.

 What is expected

  • The EAS conference is a major scientific and technical event and is associated with a leisure programme for delegates. Choosing the right location for such an event is crucial not only for the local organizational capacity but also for research centres and commercial culture establishments, plus the availability of local entertainment and leisure facilities for delegates. The event has already started to be disseminated, not only on the EAS website, but also in specialized newspapers and magazines, and as the event approaches dissemination will also include other more generalist media. Therefore, it is an event that promotes Madeira, as a region that promotes research and science, the aquaculture production industry, and particularly as a tourist region.
  • The number of delegates to the conference varies, but it has grown steadily and remained above 1000 for the past 10 years and culminated in around 2000 at AE2019 in Berlin. However, the number of associated visitors to the events location is higher, as many delegates are accompanied by support staff and others who often stay beyond the conference dates. The direct impact on the economy of the conference location is very relevant and has a positive impact  on hotel occupancy, local restaurants and transport and other events including entertainment and cultural activities – coastal cruise programmes, underwater dives, whale watching, levada walks, etc.
  • The industrial fair associated with the conference will involve the participation of about 100 overseas companies with links to the area. It is a great opportunity for regional companies linked to aquaculture production and those that supply their goods and services in the Region, to take the pulse of new technologies and new products that can improve their production and business performance. With the conference motto “A sea of ​​opportunities” EAS2021 is positioned to foster new business within the region.
  • An excellent opportunity for researchers and science centres in the Region to contact and exchange experiences with top researchers from all over Europe and other areas who attend the conference. There will also be opportunities for students to meet and inter act with specialist researchers. Aquaculture research includes areas of science related to the biology and physiology of aquatic species, areas of zootechnics, nutrition, environmental, etc. and many other technological areas, from software to equipment design and engineering, etc. Therefore, the field of aquatic sciences and technologies linked to the Blue Economy has an ideal opportunity to show, participate and progress within this event.
  • The promotion and organization of an event of this dimension requires the direct involvement of the EAS Management and several organizational committees that meet regularly to prepare the conference, deal with programming issues including a calendar of events, selection of “chair” sessions, local logistics, social programs, the trade fair and student forums. We will be informing our institutional partners of these meetings. These meetings may be associated with meetings or other events that the RG as a partner may wish to propose.

Marine aquaculture in the coastal zone of Madeira includes the development of floating structures as part of a pilot project launched in 1996, in Baia d’Abra in Caniçal. Since then, private companies have anticipated an increase in the production of sea bream in the open sea. Scientists and researchers point to the region’s water quality and temperature as elements with “great potential” to increase production, boost the sea economy, ensure people’s access to affordable food, preserve wild species and the marine environment, diversify the economy in a Region with a history of subsistence crises and create qualified employment.

Samantha Gannon

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