Over 500 researchers debate in Gran Canaria about aquaculture as an alternative to food supply for the future

Over 500 researchers from 43 countries are participating this week in the International Symposium on Fish Nutrition and Feeding being held in Gran Canaria to study the role of aquaculture in the future of food for human consumption. The fact it is being held in Gran Canaria “confirms the commitment and work carried out by the Gran Canaria Island Council (Cabildo) in this field”, according to the President of the Cabildo, who highlighted that in the Canary Islands alone there is currently only 10% of the fish that existed 50 years ago, “so we have to find alternatives”.

The world population is increasing year by year, threatening to exceed 7.5 billion people in 2020 and, at the same time, marine resources are becoming increasingly scarce, so the need to produce alternative foods is on the rise in a future in which aquaculture will play a crucial role in guaranteeing the production of aquatic species.

The director of the ECOAQUA Institute at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and organiser of this conference, Marisol Izquierdo, confirmed that aquaculture “is probably the fastest growing food production industry today”, as it is currently producing 50% of the fish for human consumption globally, at just over 110 million tonnes.

In this respect, the conference launched this morning falls within the strategy of the Cabildoof diversifying the island’s economy, one of the pillars of which is the blue biotechnology being developed by this institution through the Bioasis initiative, the Blue Biotechnology Platform and Aquaculture. Bioasis, which in addition to the Cabildo,has the participation of the Government of the Canary Islands and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, through the Corporation for the Economic Development of Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands Technology Institute, the Ecoaqua University Institute and the Spanish Algae Bank, “defends blue biotechnology as a proposal for the future for the island”, the president explained.

Bioasis Gran Canaria will be present at this conference organised by the Aquaculture Research Group from the ECOAQUA Institute and the ISFNF Scientific Committee, to show Gran Canaria to the international experts, “as one of the places in Europe with the best environmental, research and business conditions to develop aquaculture and biotechnology”, according to Antonio Morales.

This forum, held biannually for the last 40 years and which is being held on the island for the second time, is a meeting point for researchers currently working in the production of high quality aquatic food for the consumer, to whom it will reveal the latest developments in the industry. The programme with 100 presentations, 300 posters and various conferences and lectures, will go into detail about the raw materials used in the fish and crustacean aquaculture diets, the intersection between genetics and nutrition and the practical applications of nutrition research.