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PhotoFeeding the Rising New Middle Class

International experts presenting new data at GOAL 2010 said that rising global demand for seafood, driven mainly by a rapidly growing middle class in China and other Asian nations, is putting pressure on the aquaculture industry to find sustainable ways to increase productivity. The situation also presents major opportunities for aquaculture.

Over three billion new consumers will join the global middle class by 2030, said keynote economist Albert Zeufack of the World Bank, and 90% of those citizens will live in the Asia Pacific region.

PhotoChina is by far the world’s leading aquaculture producer, but it is increasingly importing seafood to meet domestic demand. Economist Ragnar Tveteras evaluated economic indicators from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to project that China will shift from being a net seafood exporter to a net seafood importer by 2011. 

Speakers also addressed approaches for sustainably increasing seafood production to meet the rising demand. Robins McIntosh of the C.P. Group 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. Other speakers suggested that expanding production into undeveloped regions, particularly Africa, would lead to important community benefits and economic development.

To assure sustainability, certification and traceability of each link in the supply chain are critical, GOAL speakers emphasized. Updates were provided on GAA’s new Best Aquaculture Practices standards for Pangasius and feed mills, and the status of salmon standards, which are expected soon.

PhotoA 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.

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