The event will be the largest aquaculture conference in North America.
“Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) has a fantastic partnership with WAS and Aquaculture Association of Canada,” said Mark Lane, NAIA executive director.
“We have come together with our sponsors to welcome the world to St John’s. We are expecting 2,000-3,000 people this year and 100 countries will be represented. There will be 130 exhibition booths and 65% have already be sold. This will be the place to learn about the latest in aquaculture, see the newest technology in the trade show and have a good time in St John’s.”
Attendees can expect four days of specialised workshops, panel discussion regarding the future of aquaculture, public trust sessions, innovation and science workshops, and networking sessions. Lane added that there will be a “chief executive officer panel” which will give attendees the ability to get information directly from company decision makers.
Other topics of discussion will include cleaner fish, fish welfare, aquaculture monitoring and technology, law and regulations, marine safety, harmful algal blooms, climate change, urban aquaculture, hatchery technology and larvae production.
“St John’s is the last frontier for Newfoundland,” said Lane.
“Our government supports aquaculture. We have done a good job at marketing and advertising. Companies like Mowi and Cooke do business here. Where these companies go the value chain follows. We produce premium seafood products and we want to share that.”
The federal government has announced that it will help British Columbia “transition” salmon farming from net-pens to other methods. The phrasing of the announcement led many to believe that the government wanted that done by 2025, although fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan has since said the 2025 is simply the deadline for a transition plan to be in place.
“This [support for transition] caused attention that we don’t want. I had many people calling from other countries asking about this. It is ludicrous. It makes no sense, so they are coming to see what all this is about,” said Lane.
“The St John’s Convention Centre will be the place to learn and exchange ideas.”
There are 800 hotel rooms available and the Newfoundland economy will benefit from the tourism that the conference will bring. Newfoundland has invested $1 billion into the local aquaculture sector.
“The industry employs 1,000 people directly and 3,000 indirectly,” added Lane.
“Business deals will happen and business will be conducted during the conference. I have seen it happen in previous years.”
Since the conference is on the world stage many large announcements are made at the event. He did not mention anything in particular but said “anything is possible”.
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