World Aquaculture Magazine - June 2020

8 JUNE 2020 • WORLD AQUACULTURE • WWW.WA S.ORG of the US aquaculture industry. Suppliers sell products and services to commercial enterprises. Researchers look for ways to improve the species we produce and improve technology and other aquaculture inputs. The extension community gives hands-on assistance to producers to help address on-farm issues as they occur and provide valuable information through technology transfer and consultations for startup aquaculture businesses. Without the production segment of aquaculture though, many of us would have careers focused on different industries. During this unique time, USAS is continuing business as usual. Our Aquaculture America Steering Committee is working diligently on a wonderful meeting for San Antonio. I encourage everyone to start thinking about writing and submitting your abstracts for Aquaculture America 2021. To encourage early abstract submission, we will be giving away FIVE free Aquaculture America 2021 registrations to full members if you submit your abstract by the first deadline (Sept. 30, 2020). Remember, early abstract submissions help make planning our annual meetings easier on our volunteer committees. I would also like to encourage you to consider running for a USAS Officer or Board Member position. This year we will be voting on President-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer, and two BoardMember positions. In addition to our normal business, USAS is currently committed to holding a second meeting inWashington, DC this fall for Congress, their staff, and other aquaculture decision-makers in federal agencies. We hope to communicate the benefits of a robust aquaculture industry in helping reduce the seafood trade deficit in the US. There is some potentially good news for the U.S. aquaculture in- dustry recently. As I was composing this President’s Column, President Trump signed an Executive Order designed to help aquaculture devel- opment and streamline aquaculture permitting processes. While it is still too early to determine the effects of the Executive Order, some col- leagues have told me it could be the most important aquaculture policy initiative since the National Aquaculture Act of 1980. If you have any questions or concerns about USAS, do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of the other Board members. Until, next time, stay safe and keep being the resilient industry we knowwe are. —Matt Parker, President U.S. Aquaculture Society W ow, what a difference in the seafood and aquaculture world fromwhen I composed my last President’s message! Many of the small businesses across all sectors of our industry are facing COVID- 19-related hardships. Many have seen sales of aquaculture products and equipment slow or come to a standstill, creating cash flow issues. Compounding these hardships are issues trying to balance business health with employee health and availability. Those of us that can are working from home and trying to balance our new office environments with family demands like homeschooling our children. There have been many resources shared to help manage stress and our own mental health as we adjust to the new “normal.” I encourage everyone to reach out if they are feeling overwhelmed with trying to balance work and family life. Sometimes a phone call or Zoom meeting with friends or distant family is just what you need to help lift your spirits. If you need additional support, please reach out to a professional for assistance. Since the spread of COVID-19, seafood markets around the world have taken a huge hit. While there are many accomplished home chefs confident enough to cook seafood products at home, a large portion of aquaculture production, especially shellfish, are consumed in restaurants. With social distancing and most restaurants in the country moving to carry out and delivery only, the impact to our industry has been tremendous. I hope that smart social distancing measures will help slow the pandemic and allow our restaurants and markets to open back up as soon as is safely possible. In the meantime, I encourage you all to support your local aquaculture operations however you can. Many have changed to direct marketing of their products and online sales. I am always impressed with how quickly our industry is able to adapt and change to make the best of bad situations. USAS has compiled a list of potential resources to help your business successfully navigate this unprecedented time in our industry. The website can be found here: Some may wonder why I have sent industry focused emails out from the Home Office and started this message by focusing on the production side of our industry when the majority of our membership is academia. In my opinion, we all work to support the production sector I encourage you to support your local aquaculture operations however you can. Many have changed to direct marketing of their products and online sales. I am always impressed with how quickly our industry is able to adapt and change to make the best of bad situations. C H A P T E R R E P O R T S Moreover, there are other exciting regional webinars discussing some of the major issues to aquaculture development in Africa. Our West African regional office, based in Nigeria, is facilitating a series of such webinars with special international guests invited. There is so much to say this quarter but let me end here as usual by thanking you, our membership and partners, for continued support. My thoughts and prayers to those who have succumbed to the pandemic and to those on sick beds awaiting recovery. And I pray that our aquaculture community will remain resolute and alert to delivering resilient responses to meet the challenges ahead as we weather these testing times. I once again wish you and your families safety and good health. — Sherif Sadek, President Afr ica Chap t er , continued from page 7