The main theme of IIFET 2008 conference was "Achieving a Sustainable Future: Managing Aquaculture, Fishing, Trade and Development". The conference was comprised of 72 sessions, including 12 special sessions and and 2 day-long policy forums. Policy and management systems, markets and trade, aquaculture, and development were all well represented. Presentations demonstrated many of the challenges that the fisheries and aquaculture are dealing with, including uncertainty, loss of resource rents, climate change, IUU (Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated) fishing, poverty, and problems in tropical near-shore fisheries. Seafood market and trade issues also attracted high quality papers on topics including ecolabeled seafood, building decision capacity in international seafood markets, innovation, production and new markets for aquaculture products.
Aquaculture topics received much attention at IIFET 2008 Vietnam, also. Sessions covered issues including sectoral development and analysis, both in developed and developing countries, feed and fishery sector interactions, sustainability and the environment, and aquaculture farm management.
The conference also held two "Policy Days" aimed at linking researchers, policy makers and stakeholders. One of these - "Vietnam Policy Day" - was devoted to Vietnam's fisheries issues. Vietnam's fisheries have witnessed impressive growth in the past few years, becoming a strategic industry in the overall economy, constituting the driving force of the annual average growth rate in GDP of more than 7% since 2000. Papers in this series of sessions reviewed sector development, the important roles of fisheries and aquaculture in alleviating poverty in Vietnam, the challenges and the policy environment for fisheries and aquaculture. In addition, Vietnam Policy Day included presentations on the indigenous fisheries management system of Vietnam (the "Van Chai"), a non-Western system. In terms of fisheries, the Van Chai system is structured to address principally mutual assistance among fishers, the behavior, rights and obligations of boat owners, captains and crew members, disposal of the catch, governance of operations, mediation of conflicts, and punishment for rule-breaking.
The second "Policy Day", the IIFET 2008 Policy Forum was devoted to global and international issues, and was entitled Fisheries and Globalisation: Meeting the Policy Challenges. This session featured talks by international experts on globalization, food miles, challenges for the Vietnamese, African, and Norwegian industries, IUU fishing and the EU, and small-scale fisheries.
Suggested bibliographic reference:
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 22-25, 2008, Nha Trang, Vietnam: Achieving a Sustainable Future: Managing Aquaculture, Fishing, Trade and Development. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2008.