Char­ity at home

UK team pro­motes in­dus­try at home and in de­vel­op­ing world

Fish Farmer - - Contents - BY CLIFFORD SPENCER

THE in­ter­na­tional char­ity Aqua­cul­ture with­out Fron­tiers (AwF) re-es­tab­lished its UK branch last year with a na­tional and global re­mit. The char­ity first had a UK pres­ence in 2004, set up by the aqua­cul­ture pi­o­neer Michael New, who had also cre­ated the US AwF. But the Bri­tish ver­sion was closed eight years later when New de­cided it was time to re­duce his in­volve­ment in the char­i­ties.

The idea to start again in the UK was seeded at a meet­ing of Prince Albert’s Monaco Blue ini­tia­tive in 2015. Af­ter much hard work by AwF so­lic­i­tor trustee Si­mon Birks, the char­i­ta­ble sta­tus was granted by the char­ity com­mis­sion­ers in Fe­bru­ary 2016.

The new char­ity’s found­ing trustees were well-known pub­lish­ers in the sec­tor, Roger Gil­bert (now vice chair­man) and Tuti Tan, to­gether with seafood knowl­edge bro­ker Roy Palmer, also of the US and Aus­tralian AwFs.

All the cur­rent trustees, who in­clude Clifford Spencer (chair­man) and Jan­ice Spencer (chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer), are UK based ex­cept for Sven-Olof Malmqvist of Yara, in Sweden, who is recog­nised as a lead­ing devel­oper in the global busi­ness of an­i­mal nutri­tion.

A ground­ing in the prin­ci­ples and ethics of AwF – which is fi­nanced by do­na­tions and spon­sor­ship -was of­fered by founder Michael New, as well as ex­cel­lent con­tacts, tips and per­sonal sup­port for our new roles.

Ini­tial ideas started to be formed, our first flier was printed and our first steps into the world of AwF were made at the Euro­pean Aqua­cul­ture So­ci­ety con­fer­ence in Ed­in­burgh last Septem­ber.

Fit­tingly, one of the first pre­sen­ta­tions pro­mot­ing the orig­i­nal for­ma­tion of AwF was made in 2003 by Michael New, who was then pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Aqua­cul­ture So­ci­ety, and he joined us at the 2016 Ed­in­burgh event, and in­tro­duced us to other aqua­cul­tur­ists.

The bulk of the UK trustees then un­der­took trips to Viet­nam and Ethiopia to study present day aqua­cul­ture in widely dif­fer­ing en­vi­ron­ments and to set an agenda for fu­ture work.

In Viet­nam we ad­dressed a ma­jor aqua­cul­ture con­fer­ence and, with the in­come de­rived from spon­sor­ship, agreed to fi­nance the train­ing of an as­pir­ing young aqua­cul­ture op­er­a­tive on a course in Thai­land.

In Ethiopia we looked at as­sist­ing aqua­cul­ture growth for the coun­try’s very poor pop­u­la­tion of 100 mil­lion, who have some of the low­est fish con­sump­tion in Africa. This is de­spite the pres­ence of the Blue Danube, Lake Tana and gen­er­ous in­land wa­ters, although the coun­try has no coast­line.

Meet­ings were ar­ranged with the UN and the Ethiopian gov­ern­ment’s Min­is­ter of In­dus­try, and the be­gin­nings of a pro­ject us­ing na­tive grown faba beans as a fish feed has been spawned and will now re­ceive fur­ther in­put. We have also ap­proached the UK gov­ern­ment for as­sis­tance in this task and have sub­mit­ted an out­line pro­ject for ini­tial as­sess­ment and feed­back.

Our next ac­tiv­ity is to work with the World Aqua­cul­ture So­ci­ety in its con­fer­ence in Cape Town in June this year. The UK AwF has met the event or­gan­is­ers in South Africa and a fur­ther meet­ing will take place this month in Texas at Aqua­cul­ture Amer­ica - in par­tic­u­lar, to work with those set­ting up an African chap­ter of the World aqua­cul­ture So­ci­ety.

We are also host­ing an event at the Aqua­cul­ture Amer­ica event and pro­vid­ing speak­ers, in­clud­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the African Union, to pro­mote African aqua­cul­ture.

The UK board of trustees have con­nec­tions to aqua­cul­ture me­dia, gov­ern­ment of­fices, aqua­cul­ture feed in­dus­try, land based agri­cul­ture, United Na­tions fam­ily or­gan­i­sa­tions, and the World Bank - and all on a global ba­sis.

We are also co-owner of the bud­ding Na­tional Aqua­cul­ture Cen­tre, based at the Hum­ber Seafood In­sti­tute at Grimsby’s Europarc, a re­gion where more than three quar­ters of all UK con­sumed fish is pro­cessed.

Hull Univer­sity is an aca­demic part­ner of the Na­tional Aqua­cul­ture Cen­tre which, through this as­so­ci­a­tion, will en­joy the in­volve­ment of

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