The balance of LACQUA18 / VIIICCA is positive

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By Milthon Lujan

Bogota, Colombia.- The Latin American & Caribbean Aquaculture 2018 – LACQUA18 and the VIII Congress Colombian Aquaculture – VIIICCA took place from October 23 to 26, 2018 at the Ágora International Convention Center in Bogotá, Colombia. These important events were organized by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, the Colombian Federation of Aquaculturists and the Latin American and Caribbean Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society.

The event had 1609 attendees registered in the different categories, from 37 countries. A total of 511 scientific papers were presented, being 330 oral and 181 posters. The commercial exhibition housed 43 companies and public and private institutions, who presented supply of inputs and services for aquaculture.
The inaugural session was led by Dr. Alejandro Flores Nava from FAO, who in his conference Aquaculture and Peace in the Region presented information on countries in the process of implementing peace agreements, where the restoration of aquaculture areas affected by the conflict should be a priority, as it is an activity multiplier of the local economy.

Later Dr. Sara Patricia Bonilla, Executive Director of the Colombian Federation of Aquaculturists, presented the conference Aquaculture in Colombia, Today and Future,
where updated data on the growth of national aquaculture, certifications implemented by producers and potential for export of species such as tilapia and trout.
The sessions with the highest number of papers presented were health of aquatic organisms, fish diseases, toxicology, sanitary management, diseases of shrimp and
immunology. In these sessions case studies were presented, as well as advanced technologies for the control of diseases such as vaccines, genetic tools and food additives.

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In the commercial exhibition the companies stood out with the provision of services and inputs for the implementation of biosecurity measures and offer high quality food. It should be noted that production systems that seek to produce intensively with the sustainable use of water, such as biofloc, aquaponics and recirculation, received a number significant number of works, finding a large number of assistants in the rooms where they were exposed these themes. A very important session in this event was social aquaculture and in indigenous communities, where results of work with populations, that have incorporated aquaculture as an option for the improvement of their quality of life and increase in the contribution of animal protein to their diet, were presented.

The attendance of more than 180 students from countries such as Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Colombia was significant; they participated actively in the different sessions as Education and Careers in Aquaculture, posters and integration activities. The students received awards in oral category on topics such as welfare of elasmobranches, functional foods for stimulation of the immune system in shrimp and in replacement of fish oil in shrimp diets.

The featured posters addressed issues as a design of a low-cost oxygenation system for aquaculture, detection of shrimp and photoreactor diseases for algae production.

A total of 61 attendees from Israel, Mexico, Peru, Sweden, Colombia, Spain, Brazil, Chile, United States United and Norway participated in the scheduled technical visits. The company visited was La Mariana Aquaponics, where rainbow trout is produced intensively and integrated with vegetables such as lettuce and tomatoes. There was also a visit to an intensive system of production of tilapia in biofloc at Granja El Nogal and another farm, Tropcol, where intensive ornamental fish production is carried out.

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The congress was the propitious space for specialized meetings like the one summoned by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization – UNIDO “Improvement of the productivity and competitiveness of the fishing value chains in Latin America”. The meeting “Entrepreneurial Challenges of Aquaculture in Colombia” was also developed by the Colombian Federation of Aquaculture – FEDEACUA. In addition, meetings were held for the foundation of the “Colombian Academic Association of Aquaculture” and of the “Colombian Network of Technicians, Technologists and Professionals in Aquaculture Health”.

The balance of LACQUA18 / VIIICCA is positive, surpassing the expectations, confirming the importance of aquaculture for the Latin American and Caribbean region, posing challenges in socio-economic, environmental, educational and research aspects for the future. We look forward to your presence at our next regional meeting LACQUA19, which will be held in San Jose, Costa Rica, from November 19 to 22, 2019.

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