The Offshore Mariculture Conference Mexico brought together over 200 innovators and farmers in offshore mariculture, aquaculture and supply chain logistics in the increasingly important, developing region of Ensenada, Mexico. The conference firmly established that to meet the global demand of fish food production and delivery, the future lies in offshore mariculture, in terms of efficiency and environment. However, there are still challenges and barriers to overcome.
The highly technical conference provided a platform for investors, farmers, governments and various stakeholders within the industry to gain insight into the future of fish farming, engage in lively debate and capitalise on networking opportunities for expansion of operations.
Attendees gather in front of SEPESCA stand (Left to right) - Chris Kruse and Todd Madsen of Blue Ocean Mariculture, Christy Walton, Earth Ocean Farms' Pablo Konietzco, SEPESCA Director of Aquaculture Luis Gonzalez, Langley Gace of InnovaSea and Roly Morris of Cuna del Mar.
The Offshore Mariculture Conference programme was packed with international experts willing to share their industry knowledge with attendees. Speakers presented on a range of topics; from complex discussions on nutrient balance in feed products to insightful sessions on market trends and investment.
Speakers during the two and a half days of presentations revealed that “the future lies in offshore”; “food production needs to meet the global demand”; “aquaculture needs to be accessible on any scale and have minimal environmental impact”. Essentially, shifting aquaculture offshore ticks all the right boxes in terms of efficiency and environment.
Open Blue’s Brian O’Hanlon explained “We see that cages can operate in the open ocean, and expect to see cages fully submerged operating for extensive periods”. Open Blue has 180 staff in Panama, at the world’s largest open water cobia farm with a 2000 tonne production in 2017. Fish are transferred offshore when they reach 100 grams, to an exposed site 12km offshore, with fully submerged cages. The success sees Open Blue developing a second site next year.
The challenges and barriers faced by the offshore mariculture industry mean that it is still on a learning curve, but producers are overcoming these issues all the time, with the use of innovative technology and research. Sergio Guevara, an oceanologist at UABC, indicated "Every year is different, there are different combinations of variables each year – such as storms and predation. We're learning all the time. It's a never-ending story and we have to be on top of things all the time. On top of that we have climate change and warmer water to adapt to".
The Offshore Mariculture Conference included technical visits to working fish farms and processing facilities. This unique opportunity provided first-hand insights into the supply chain, from the hatcheries and farmed solutions through to how products are made ready for sale. Attendees gained insights into alternative and innovative farming techniques that can be applied to new and growing businesses.
The oyster farm visit showed delegates strings of oyster cages being lifted and stacked on the deck to be taken ashore, while the mussel facility demonstrated the hauling and shaker techniques for rope grown mussels. Delegates also had the opportunity to witness Bluefin tuna swimming, being fed sardines to bring them up from the deeper part of the cage.
Pacifico’s striped bass farm was a highlight, located under the rocks of Isla de Todos Santos, where the sounder showed the undersea contours steep slopes, where the cages are located at the edge of the canyon running to the landward side of the islands. The farm crew blew fish feed to the line-up of cages, providing a practical demonstration of what can be achieved by taking mariculture offshore.
The Ocean Baja Labs tour included discussions into feeding regimes, from the use of rotifers to pellets, and how the staff at have tested feed efficiency to maximise production. Their state of the art hatchery specialises in yellowtail production.
Attendees could view all stages of the fish culture process, from the fingerlings right up to the brood stock. Fingerlings were produced in large quantities and kept at high densities of around 50 per litre which helped to keep them consistent in size and prevent cases of cannibalism.
The global demand and opportunities in the central America region are abundant. California has a 300,000 tonne annual demand for seafood, Paula Sylvia of the Unified Port of San Diego says. That represents some huge opportunities for Mexico, and for California providing farming fish in state waters will be permitted which is currently not the case. Paula’s presentation highlighted the great potential for mariculture in Mexico and was a fitting end to the conference.
The four day Offshore Mariculture Conference was heralded a resounding success by all attendees. The success of the Mexican edition of OMC is a product of exceptional team work between Mercator’s experienced conference team and tireless work from the Mexican organising team at CESAIBC. The State Governor for Baja California, Francisco Vega de Lamadrid opened the conference thanking the local ministries INAPESCA, CONAPESCA, SEPESCA as well as the World Aquaculture Society for their support, and expressed the honour that Mexico feels to be the first host outside of Europe.
"It was a truly outstanding conference that by far exceeded all expectations. All participants I interacted with agreed that it was an extremely productive experience. It was also a lot of fun.Impeccable" Daniel Benetti, Professor and Director of Aquaculture, University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
“The event organization, logistics and image was outstanding.” Baja Seas
“The staff, the food and the locations for these events was outstanding and foster a friendly fun environment to interact and network with all the attendees.” Skretting
Conference download available now Over 35 presentations, research papers, case studies and biographies from speakers including Neil Sims, Robert Orr, InnovaSea, RefaMed and many more. This is a valuable resource for those looking to expand their offshore mariculture knowledge and access industry contacts. Please visit offshoremariculture.com/mexico to purchase the conference papers.
Getting ready 2018
Plans underway for Offshore Mariculture 2018 – sign up to the newsletter on the website to keep up to date.
This event is jointly organised by Mercator Media Ltd and CESAIBC in Ensenada,
Mexico, and forms part of a series of successful Offshore Mariculture Conferences
organised in previous years by Mercator Media Ltd across Europe.
For more information, contact:
The events team at Mercator Media Ltd on +44 1329 825 335 or he events team in Mexico on + 52 (646) 1521656