The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is now accepting applications for its ninth annual Global Aquaculture Innovation Award. The application deadline is June 15.

Established in 2012, the competition recognises individuals and companies finding new solutions to the key challenges facing aquaculture. Examples of aquaculture innovations include technologies that mitigate the occurrence of animal diseases or parasites, or that reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics to treat animals; technologies that improve production efficiencies at the hatchery or farm levels while mitigating environmental impact; advances in offshore or land-based recirculation technologies; novel feed ingredients; reductions in carbon footprint through improved energy efficiency or regeneration; and social programs designed to improve living and working conditions at the farm or processing levels.

University of Stirling postdoctoral researcher Simão Zacarias was the recipient of last year's eighth annual Global Aquaculture Innovation Award, sponsored by Lineage Logistics, for his work on the shrimp-hatchery practice of unilateral eyestalk ablation. His research debunked the notion that the practice results in higher egg production and showed that it actually escalates disease vulnerability.

Zacarias edged out two other finalists — Pablo Berner of Aquaterra/Nuseed and Mark Luecke of Prairie AquaTech. All three finalists were featured in GAA's Global Aquaculture Advocate in September and presented at GAA's GOAL 2020 conference on October 8, held virtually for the first time ever last year. Of the 800 attendees who actively participated in GOAL 2020, about 200 voted.

Last year, GAA received a total of 30 applications from 17 countries — Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Tanzania and Thailand.

Three finalists will be selected by five judges amongst a pool of applicants. The three finalists will then be invited to present at a GOAL 2021 virtual event in the fall. Once again this year, the winner will be selected by audience vote.

The competition is coordinated by GAA Standards Coordinator, Dan Lee. In addition to Mr Lee, the judges are GAA President and Founder Dr. George Chamberlain and existing and former GAA Standards Oversight Committee members Alejandro Buschmann of i-mar Research and the Development Center of Coastal Resources and Environments; Dawn Purchase of the Marine Conservation Society; and Michael Tlusty of the University of Massachusetts-Boston. For the third consecutive year, the winner was selected by an audience vote.

The previous winners are:
2020: Simão Zacarias, University of Stirling, Scotland
2019: Mike Forbes, Ace Aquatec, Scotland
2018: Zach Stein, Osmo Systems, United States
2017: Walt Rakitsky, Corbion (formerly TerraVia), United States
2016: Karin Pittman, University of Bergen, Norway
2015: Werner Jost, Camanor Produtos Marinhos Ltda., Brazil
2014: Rodrigo Prado, USONIC Ltda., Chile
2013: Amir Sagi, Ben Gurion University, Israel

For more information visit the Global Aquaculture Alliance website, HERE.

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