Last week the campus of Seattle’s University of Washington was bustling with crowds of cheerful fishery economists of various stocks.
Academics, fisheries managers, policy makers, seafood industry members, international organizations and national government representatives and, of course, old UNU-FTP fellows ...
… partaking in seminars, sampling Starbucks coffee or some distinctive local beers.
Thanks to IIFET, the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, which every two years brings this congregation together to exchange views socialize and network.
It is the only global professional organization devoted to improving understanding of all aspects of fisheries /aquaculture economics and seafood trade.
One hundred presentations every day
IIFET 2018 in Seattle introduced some of the newest ideas in fisheries and aquaculture economics, recognized long-term contributions of eminent researchers in the field -- apart from reflected Seattle’s position as a central hub in the world fishing industry.
On offer were close to 400 presentations grouped in 80 breakout sessions, workshops, panel discussions and poster exhibitions over a period of four days.
Main themes covered included: Economics of aquaculture, bioeconomic modelling, fishery governance, economics of recreational fisheries, developing country fisheries, seafood markets and trade.
Additionally one day pre-conference focused on economic data collection to support fisheries co-management.
Abstracts of all presentations can be found here.
Strong performance by UNU-FTP fellows
Since 2012, when the IIFET conference was held in Dar es Salam Tanzania, UNU-FTP has supported a sizable group of old fellows to attend each of the conference.
It has proved to be a great opportunity for them to present their research projects, exchange ideas and construct partnership relationships.
At IIFET 2018 in Seattle 18 UNU-FTP fellows presented research projects related to the fisheries, aquaculture or seafood trade of their home countries.
Fellows from East Africa were most numerous (altogether 12 coming from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and Madagascar); but there were also fellows from Ghana (2), Indonesia (2), Viet Nam (1) and Sri Lanka (1).
They all gave very strong professional performance and contributed a global and practical essence to the major topics discussed at the conference.
One UNU-FTP fellow, Moses Mwangangi Wambua, was awarded a best paper prize for his research on aquaculture development in Meru county Kenya.
Some of the other highlights of the conference included the speeches given by the three IIFET 2018 award winners.
Rebecca Lent, who received the “Distinguished Service Award”, talked about the challenges a marine economist can face in the policy world.
Not so long time ago, apparently, the field of fishery science was dominated by biologists and economists eyed with suspicion.
Lent was instrumental in the founding of IIFET in 1982. Currently she is the executive secretary of the International Whaling Commission.
Cathy A. Roheim received one of the two IIFET 2018 Fellows Award. She is head of the University of Idaho’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.
In her award speech she outlined major milestones in the progress of today’s advanced discipline of seafood demand and market analyses.
Roheim herself is a pioneer in seafood markets research, value chain analyses, fisheries certification, eco-labelling and so on.
The other IIFET 2018 Fellows Award went to James L. Anderson, director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems University of Florida. He is amongst the world’s foremost experts in the economics of aquaculture and fisheries and their interactions in the global seafood marketplace.
He highlighted the importance of “systems thinking” in his award speech. There are no quick fixes to the pressing difficulties of malnutrition, overfishing, food waste and so on. At the same time, even though we take a comprehensive long-term approach in our researches, we must stay focused and produce practical solutions.
Anderson advocates “triple-bottom-line” as a pillar on which performance is assessed: Ecology, economics and community. This thinking is, for example, captured in the so called “fishery performance indicators” which he and his colleagues are presently developing.
UNU-FTP fellows gave very strong professional performance and contributed a global and practical essence to all the major topics discussed at the conference.
Moses Mwangangi Wambua, was awarded a best paper prize for his research on aquaculture development in Meru county Kenya.
On offer were close to 400 presentations grouped in 80 breakout sessions, workshops, panel discussions and poster sessions over a period of four days.
UNU-FTP one of IIFET sponsors