Globally, tilapia has become the second most important farmed fish, after the carps. It is the most widely farmed fish, with production stretching from the tropics to Canada, Northern Europe, South Africa and Argentina. It is the preferred fish for intensive recirculating systems, with production often exceeding 100 kg/m3. Tilapia are grown in a greater variety of production systems than any other fish; cages, ponds, raceways, tanks, freshwater, brackish water, seawater, and even in aquaria on the international space station.
China is the major farming country with annual production of over 700,000 mt. Thailand, Philippines, and Mexico each produce over 100,000 mt and Brasil, Taiwan, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Cuba, and Vietnam are each significant producers. 2004 production should exceed 1.6 million mt and 2005 over 1.7 million mt.
The International Symposia on Tilapia in Aquaculture (ISTA’s) are the central focus for presenting advances in the industry and a venue to bring together researchers, producers, suppliers and seafood buyers. The Sixth International Symposium on Tilapia in Aquaculture will be held at the Philippines International Convention Center in Manila from September 12-16, 2004. The ISTA’s are held every four years and are the premier conferences devoted to this rapidly growing industry. Past symposia (Israel, Thailand, Ivory Coast, US, and Brasil) have highlighted the advances in various regions of the world and now after 16 years will return to Asia.
ISTA 6 will be hosted and sponsored by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Philippines Department of Agriculture. Other major sponsors include the American Tilapia Association, Schering-Plough Aquaculture and the Aquaculture CRSP. Other supporting organizations include the World Aquaculture Society, Global Aquaculture Alliance, Asian Institute of Technology, World Fish Center, CIRAD, the Tilapia International Foundation, Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development, Philippine Fisheries Association, Ready Mix Feeds, and FYD International. Central Luzon State University and the University of Arizona will assist with planning and organization.
The focus of the meeting will be the exploding world-wide trade in tilapia products and the role of Asia, and especially the Philippines, as a center of advancement in technology as well as production for the international markets. The conference will include technical presentations, producer workshops, an industry trade show and farm tours. Social events will include a welcome reception cruise on Manila Bay. It will also include a dinner at Intramuros, the magnificently restored old city with its forts, museums, galleries and restaurants.
The Philippines is one of the top three producers of tilapia in the world and boasts one of the highest per capita consumption rates of tilapia. Technologies and breeding strains developed in the Philippines have been shared globally and ISTA 6 will highlight the newest developments. The conference will also include farm tours to major production areas and opportunities to visit research facilities. Building upon one of the most popular events of ISTA 5 in Rio de Janeiro, ISTA 6 will include a gastronomic circuit. This competition between area restaurants will spotlight their most exquisite tilapia dishes. The conference trade show will bring international vendors to Manila along with hatcheries supplying highly selected tilapia fingerlings.
The Proceedings of the ISTA’s have been one of the most important sources of information on tilapia aquaculture and the advances in the science and industry over the last 20 years. Conference proceedings will be published and released at the meeting with conference participants each receiving the complete publication. The keynote speakers will be Dr. David Little, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Scotland and Dr. Lai Qiu Ming, Ocean University, Hainan, China. Additional featured speakers will include Kevin Fitzsimmons from the University of Arizona, Sergio Zimmerman, from Genomar/Brasil, Dr. Jerome Lazard – CIRAD, Graham Mair from Swansea/Asian Institute of Technology, W.K. Ng - Universiti Sains Malaysia, Abdel-Fattah M. El-Sayed, United Arab Emirates, and Hans Magnus Gjøen, from Norway and additional 60 papers have already been submitted for presentation.
Additional conference details are available at http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ista/announce2.htm