THE US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) has conducted workshops across South East Asia to boost marine aquaculture production in the region.
The workshops – held in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines – brought together representatives from government, industry associations, international buyers, certification programmes, and exporters to discuss and outline what the Asian aquaculture industry should do to target the international export market.
The region has a significant number of high quality fish processing facilities for land based aquaculture production and wild caught fisheries, but the marine fish aquaculture industry remains largely outdated and behind global trends towards larger scale, industrial marine fish cage farms that operate in offshore areas.
There is an expectation that improvements in production technology will lead to significant increases in the volumes of marine fish, but domestic and regional markets would have difficulty absorbing a rapid rise in supply.
The theme of the workshops, therefore, was to prepare the overall industry in the area to plan for supplying an export market.
Lukas Manomaitis, USSEC technical director for South East Asia, said: ‘We were energised by the regional industry turnout and the overall interest in growing this sector of the industry.
‘We are confident that the conversations and discussions that were had by the industry stakeholders at these workshops will set the foundation for significant sustainable, feed based marine fish aquaculture production in these countries. In turn, this will increase markets for high quality US soy feed ingredients.’
Matt Brooker, business development manager for the Fishin’ Company and an expert in the requirements of western seafood markets, said there was ‘a real need for high quality, sustainable, and affordable seafood in North America and Europe’.
‘I believe that South East Asia is well positioned to capitalise on this demand with marine aquaculture as long as the production is established in a way that meets the required standards of our markets.
‘The Fishin’ Company stands ready to support and promote production facilities and countries that focus on sustainable and responsible production.’
Breakout sessions covering government, trade, sustainability, and industry topics were conducted at the workshops.
USSEC plans to produce white papers covering these topics, to be used as a resource for future implementation.