Some eight hours of the AFS event, which will take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey on 21-22 August, will be dedicated to exploring aquaculture policies, protections, and management.
“AFS has been a leader in the science, practice, and policy of aquaculture since our founding in 1870 as the American Fish Culturists' Association. Aquaculture is a fundamental part of how we manage fisheries resources, recover imperiled species, and satisfy growing demand for seafood. The programming planned is a continuation of our members' work to make aquaculture effective, efficient, and aligned with the principles of natural resource stewardship,” said incoming AFS President Dr Jesse Trushenski.
Globally, the shellfish aquaculture industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth. In 2014, US production of clams, oysters, and mussels exceeded 40 million pounds and was valued at $300 million. Shellfish aquaculture can be a source of sustainable seafood, an important contributor to local economies, and provide ecosystem benefits to the coastal environment. These sessions at the AFS annual meeting will provide a forum for discussing current aquaculture research and policy in the United States and abroad.
Dr Daphne Munroe, leading scientist at the Rutgers University Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, explains why this science is crucial: “As aquaculture continues to grow, it is important that science and data collection keep pace. We are learning more and more about how to monitor and manage aquaculture, and we must ensure that we develop data-informed policies, backed up by the best possible science if we want to foster sustainable growth. Conversations like the ones we will have at AFS are one way that we as researchers, put our science in the hands of policy-makers and managers.”
During the event there will be three educational sessions on aquaculture: the first will address advances in automated instrumentation and how it can be an effective tool for monitoring and managing aquaculture and fisheries; the second will explore how fisheries can benefit from aquaculture; the third will analyse the ecological interactions of shellfish farming, specifically through the science and policy behind it.
Additional presentation topics include shellfish aquaculture-environment interactions, marine spatial planning for shellfish aquaculture, ecosystem services provided by shellfish aquaculture, current bottlenecks to industry growth, development of hatchery methods, potential interactions with protected species, shellfish diseases, potential for fishery habitat provisioning, and overall shellfish aquaculture management.