Monday, May 9, 2011

AFAF conference

Key & I were in China for the Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum held at the Shanghai Ocean University (new campus) during 20-24 April 2011. I presented our paper related to sustainability indicators which is part of my PhD research. I was not well during that time due to colds and allergy which manifested themselves as coughing bouts. My voice also changed. It started with exposure to cold weather and smoke and dust. I was praying that during my 20 minute presentation my voice will hold and the itchiness in my throat will not attack me while standing in front of an audience. My prayer was answered but it was mighty difficult coz my throat was strained as I talked for the whole period. It was difficult altogether during that week because there were a number of friends who also came whom I have not met for quite some time, for many years in fact. So it would have been nice to chitchat more with them. Besides the weather in Shanghai was too cold for me. So I think I remember that most of the time I was shivering and trying to protect myself from feeling cold. Even with a jacket and all gear I still felt cold because I came from a place which was sweltering hot (near 40s) and then in Shanghai the temperature was less than 20, plus the wind chill factor.

Before I left for the conference I bought a small laser pointer which cost 20 baht only, from one of the side stalls in a department store in Bangkok. Cheaper than buying it retail in China (50 baht +). It was useful for me while presenting. I just hope I did not make people dizzy by always flashing the red laser light and moving it around the screen :) Maybe it kept them awake as the presentation was in the afternoon!

As a member of the Asian Fisheries Society, I also attended the AFS General Assembly. It was held in the evening after all the sessions were done for that day. Before the meeting started, everybody had a moment of silence to remember Prof Yang Yi who was the former AFS President as well as one of the active fisheries professionals in the region. He passed away in 2009 and it was a great loss to the fisheries academic/scientific community. After that the Society officers presented their reports on activities as well as finances. Then we had to vote for new councilors to replace those whose terms are finished. There were some cocktails and snacks after but it was a pity coz the time was not coordinated well with the shuttle buses so we had to hurry to leave the meeting venue to catch our shuttle bus back to the hotel. It would have been great to mingle and get to know the other members more, for renewing old contacts, making new ones and networking.

There were just so many main and side events and sessions during the conference. Time was a constraint, added to that are side meetings with our own project team. Some other sessions I attended were the tilapia symposium, gender in fisheries and aquaculture symposium, and the ASEM-SEAT joint meeting.

After the Shanghai meeting, the project team proceeded to Zhanjiang to attend the State of the System Workshop organised by SEAT-SOU China and the Univ of Stirling.