Monday, 16 December 2013

Biosciences Seminar Speaker - 19 December 2013

Biosciences Seminar Series - Michaelmas 2013
19 December 2013 - 4pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

(note change of time!)

Biological Management 

of Aquatic Systems

Dr. Marc Verdegem

(Wageningen University, Netherlands)


What a better way to end in style a successful seminar series than .. with an additional surprise seminar?! Dr. Marc Verdegem from the  Aquaculture & Fisheries Group at Wageningen University (Netherlands) will be visiting our department this week and will present us his work on Thursday afternoon. 

And it's not finished here - given the time of year, Christmas mince pies & refreshments will be offered, too! Thanks to CSAR for this.


But back to the talk. Do you know which is the most rapidly growing food industry in the world? No, no tractors involved, it is aquaculture! 


Given the rapidly depleting fish stocks in the oceans due to overfishing (e.g. see here and here) many hopes had been put into aquaculture to guarantee food security at a reduced environmental impact. Not everything worked out as expected, however, as aquaculture has created novel problems, or sometimes even exacerbated the problems of traditional fisheries (e.g. see here). 

Given that globally human population is not only increasing, but also becoming more carnivorous (see here and here), good sustainable solutions are urgently needed. Marc's research is dedicated to finding novel solutions for sustainable aquaculture production systems and during his talks he will present us the current state of the field and present the questions that will need to be addressed:


The contribution of aquatic foods to world protein supply is growing. Predictions are that seafood and chicken, will become the most important 'meat' commodities by mid century. The danger is however, that aquaculture will develop into a large scale non-sustainable bio-industry.

Polish fisherman pull a net from the Milickie Ponds during the traditional Carp haul in Grabownica village, south-west Poland. From:

Presently, aquaculture products are mainly produced in ponds, and will be so in the future. Ponds are like grasslands, providing natural foods. The productive basis of ponds is explored, and compared to the present practice of external feed driven aquaculture. The latter uses the pond as a 'holding tank', relying on externally produced foods and counting on the environment to process wastes. 

The grassland concept was abandoned. Today's practice is linked to problems, including pollution, diseases, low product quality and consumer risks. Are there ways to reverse ongoing trends, and if so, what are important research questions to take up?

Everyone is welcome, as usual. And don't forget - there will be also Christmas mince pies & refreshments :-)

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