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Hooked on Shellfish: YAS Journey at the SAGB Conference

Updated: Jul 1

by Jessa Garibay-Yayen

 

London's skyline provided a stunning backdrop for an exciting gathering of shellfish enthusiasts and experts at the 54th Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) Annual Conference. The two-day event was marked by a series of engaging presentations and elegant evening galas, highlighting the latest innovations and collaborative efforts in the field of shellfish aquaculture in the UK.



The conference had a variety of thought-provoking talks, including my own exploration into the topic of human consumption of underutilised seafood parts and species in the UK. Being on stage alongside esteemed speakers like Dr Gary Caldwell, whose captivating account of the Tees Estuary situation deeply resonated, was a truly humbling experience. Equally thrilling was witnessing how my presentation seamlessly intertwined with uplifting stories about initiatives in shrimp and “Naked Clam” aquaculture, as well as the inspiring successes of the "Fish in School Hero" programme. Each presentation not only provided valuable insights but also highlighted our sector’s steadfast commitment to sustainability and innovation. And let's not forget David Hugh-Jones's moving journey with oysters, offering a historical perspective on native oyster aquaculture in Northern Ireland.


Interacting with seasoned shellfish professionals after my talk was undoubtedly a personal highlight. Their feedback and interactions reaffirmed my dedication to promoting diverse seafood consumption and inspired me to persist in advocating for sustainable aquaculture practices. It was a privilege to contribute to the dialogue on the future of shellfish aquaculture in the UK.


Of course, no SAGB event would be complete without its renowned Annual Fundraising Black Tie Dinner, held at the prestigious Fishmongers’ Hall. The evening was a sensory delight, combining exquisite seafood with an elegant setting. As I savoured each bite of the scallops, langoustines, and creamy crab risotto (I remember all of the dishes I ate by heart!), I also found myself inspired by this year's after-dinner speaker, Kara Brydson. Her emphasis on the visibility and role of women in the field struck a chord, highlighting the importance of diverse representation in our industry - something that YAS also aspires to achieve.


Connecting with fellow YAS members through our LinkedIn YAS Aqua Hub beforehand made attending the SAGB conference an even more enriching experience. For early career researchers (ECRs), conferences can be quite intimidating, but the welcoming atmosphere provided by the YAS network made it much easier to mingle and form connections!


Reflecting on the event fills me with optimism for the future of shellfish aquaculture in the UK. The innovative ideas and initiatives showcased at the conference hint at exciting advancements in sustainable seafood production on the horizon. It's like standing on the edge of a new chapter, brimming with anticipation for the journey ahead.


With each passing year, the SAGB conference propels us forward, pushing boundaries and igniting change in our industry. As we eagerly anticipate the 55th SAGB conference, I'm filled with excitement for the discoveries and connections it will bring. Together, we're embarking on an adventure towards a brighter, more sustainable future for shellfish aquaculture in the UK. Let's dive in headfirst and see where this journey takes us next!

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