Insights and contribution to the Aquaculture Europe Conference

What about where all that seaweed comes from?
Insights and contribution to the Aquaculture Europe Conference

It was a wonderful opportunity to participate in Aquaculture Europe Conference 2022 organized by the European Aquaculture Society in Rimini, Italy!

It definitely exceeded my expectations by the large community involved, as well as great possibilities to connect with fellow researchers and representatives of the industry.

The extensive program of the conference also touched on diverse topics, and I was delighted to see a whole day of presentations dedicated to bright into light the importance of social dimensions related to the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in different parts of the world. Those are largely related to values, trust and perceptions associated with production systems. It seems at times that we have lost the ability to connect to where our food comes from and the story behind what we put into our plates.

When I started my PhD at University College Dublin in Ireland, I couldn’t possibly imagine how much I would learn, or that I would ever be talking about seaweed cultivation and supply at an Aquaculture conference! While preparing to give my input, I was apprehensive.

The title of my presentation, “From farm to where? The obstacles of seaweed-based supply chains” was aimed to be provocative. The point I wanted to make was that: besides all the amazing things we can possible do with seaweed, and to attend the rising number of algae companies aiming to explore all its sustainability potentials, only those actively working at the farm level knows the hardships of it and the pioneering spirit it requires to overcome so many obstacles.

I hope to have delivered meaningful insights from the Irish context through the lens of supply chain management and social qualitative research. All I wanted was to dive deep into the bottlenecks so that we can tackle the right problems while planning to expand this industry in responsible ways.

Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”

Seaweed is definitely not the answer to all of our problems, but it has amazing potential for innovative solutions in this changing world and toward more sustainable aquaculture systems.

After giving my presentation, I started second-guessing myself. “Was I too enthusiastic? To passionate?”
Subjectivity and objectivity are both contributing pathways to knowledge. Researchers also bring their values and worldviews to their research process. We AgRefiner’s have interesting discussions about that. My point is: although trying to bring value-neutrality to my work, I am also a passionate human being. So, if you hear me talk about things I love, from the ocean to the shore and all things “human”, yes I will be passionate about it.
As Graciliano Ramos would say in my mother tongue: “Comovo-me em excesso, por natureza e por ofício. Acho medonho alguém viver sem paixões. Something like:
"I am overly moved, by nature and by profession. I think it is dreadful for someone to live without passions"
Graciliano Ramos

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