The theme of the sixth Aquaculture Roundtable Series (TARS) 2016 is Shrimp Aquaculture & the New Normal. TARS 2016 is a follow-up to the 2014 meeting that focused on the recovery, revival and renaissance of Asia’s shrimp aquaculture, and the industry’s struggles to contain disease outbreaks, mainly that of the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) and White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV).
Despite some progress, in terms of management and disease preventive measures, vulnerability to disease outbreaks continues to disrupt production. Asia’s production of farmed shrimp, on the whole, declined to an estimated 2.2 million tonnes in 2015 compared to the pre-EMS production of 3.2 million tonnes in 2011. Currently, non-EMS affected countries like Indonesia, Philippines and India contribute to the global shortfall in supply.
In these challenging times, faced with the presence of ongoing and emerging diseases, the industry has to contend with adverse multiplier effects. With loss in production efficiency, rising production costs, profitability and emotional stress for farmers, shrimp farming is viewed negatively as a risky business, leading to loss of credibility for potential financing and investments. Such a situation is not tenable in the long term.
It is clear that for Asia’s shrimp aquaculture to remain competitive, it needs to change, notably towards cost efficiency through technological innovation. Investing in new management tools and production techniques, research and development, health and disease prevention, and new business models is key to ensuring the economic sustainability of the industry. Equally important is positive image building, and improving its relationship and communication among players, different markets, governments and NGOs.
TARS 2016 will provide a neutral platform for key industry stakeholders to convene and exchange insights and experiences as to how Asia can reconcile, as a unified group, to increase its sphere of control in disease prevention and management. The objective is to bring the industry to a New Normal to better manage and control the variables in shrimp farming; build on industrialisation; and develop technical, operational and production efficiency. However, it is important to realise that while ‘no one size fits all,’ the aim is for each industry sector to find the right business model. To move forward, the push will be for Asia’s industry to self-regulate and be more proactive in marketing its shrimp.
As with the past five successful roundtable series, TARS has become the industry’s foremost opinion-leading aquaculture event in Asia. Leading international experts will facilitate the plenary and interactive breakout sessions that have become hallmarks of this critical series.
TARS 2016 will be the place for networking and dialogue among Asia’s key players in the shrimp aquaculture sector, including CEOs, geneticists, farm and hatchery managers, integrators, feed producers, technologists, investors, marketers, as well as governments, NGOs and academia.