Transforming Aquaculture: The Future of Seafood Must Include Innovation
The recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that global warming is likely to rise around 1.5 degrees-C within the next 20 years. Aquaculture in marine and freshwater environments is extremely vulnerable to the growing impacts of extreme weather and climate change that will accompany this temperature rise. Given the short runway to find viable solutions to mitigate the worst impacts, and to ensure food security for the world’s growing population, we will need to deploy the rapidly developing tools from the biotechnology sector. Cultivating what are essentially wild organisms in farm settings has many challenges when it comes to growth and feed efficiency, not to mention disease resistance and other desirable production traits. Farming seafood will become even more challenging in the rapidly changing and increasingly unpredictable environment. Innovation and the use of technology – including genetic engineering and gene editing – are viable solutions to provide a safe, secure and sustainable source of fresh seafood. It is not difficult to imagine the development of more temperature-tolerant, disease-resistant, and faster-growing aquatic species for aquaculture use coming down the road. This session will explore the importance of innovation in the seafood industry and the potential of using technology, and specifically biotechnology, to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change on aquaculture.