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GOAL 2010 Highlights Shifting Seafood Demand

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MALAYSIA - Economist Albert Zeufack set the stage for a Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership(GOAL) 2010, that revealed strategic global trends driving seafood demand andincreased aquaculture productivity by describing in his keynotehow global economic power is shifting from West to East.

The shift is creating a large new middle class in the Asian economies, particularly in China, Zeufack said at the October 17-20 meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This in turn is driving a surge in seafood consumption that far outstrips previous projections based solely on population increases.

This megatrend is already well under way and is expected to continue for several decades. The nearly 300 international aquaculture and seafood industry leaders at GOAL 2010 also heard that imported seafood is playing a growing role in the domestic market of China, by far the world’s leading aquaculture producer.

Economist Ragnar Tveteras evaluated economic indicators from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and stated that China will shift from being a net seafood exporter to a net seafood importer by 2011. His conclusion triangulated with feedback from other speakers on the Chinese market. Organized by the Global Aquaculture Alliance, the GOAL meeting was co-hosted by the Malaysia Department of Fisheries at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. GOAL 2010’s momentous conclusions helped buyers and producers adjust their strategic plans to avoid potential disruptions in supply and demand.

With the framework of surging seafood demand in mind, GOAL speakers addressed the question of how to sustainably increase production. One recommended thrust was to utilize improved technology. Robins McIntosh of the C.P. Group the described advances in penaeid shrimp technology using genetically improved animals within controlled growout systems to increase productivity. Shorter cycles also drive down feed and energy costs. This solution produces more seafood with fewer resources.

Another recommendation was expansion of production area into undeveloped regions, particularly Africa, where such economic development would lead to important community benefits.

In order to assure sustainability, GOAL speakers also emphasised the importance of certification and traceability of each link in the supply chain. Updates were provided on GAA’s newly released Best Aquaculture Practices standards for Pangasius and feed mills, and the status of salmon standards, which are expected soon. Participants at GOAL 2010 provided feedback on major issues through individual responses to questions posed through an audience response system.

A key benefit of GOAL was the opportunity for industry leaders to network during pre-conference tours, luncheons, coffee breaks and receptions. A highlight of the event was the gala reception at the prestigious Malaysian Petroleum Club, which offered a commanding view of Kuala Lumpur from the heights of the city’s trademark Petronas Twin Towers.

GOAL 2010 helped identify a pivotal point for global aquaculture production. The Global Aquaculture Alliance plans to follow up on the trends it examined in Malaysia at GOAL 2011, scheduled for Santiago, Chile, in late October or early November of next year.