XIIth Annual Conference of EAFE
The annual conference of EAFE was this year held in Esbjerg, Denmark, a location that originally inspired the formation of the Association back in 1988. The conference was arranged by the University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Economics (SJFI) and was held at the University campus over two and a half very productive days. 63 delegates attended the conference from 13 countries, including the EU nations, Norway, USA and Canada. The conference organisers were especially pleased to see a considerable contingent from Southern Europe and look forward to improved work collaboration with some of the 'newer' fisheries research institutes.
The AGM saw the retirement of three members of the EAFE bureau. The outgoing President, Pavel Salz, was happy to pass the 'vision' onto Jørgen Løkkegaard at SJFI. I am sure we all would like to thank Pavel for all his excellent work. Vincenzo Placenti of IREPA kindly accepted the invitation to become the new Vice-President afterin place of the outgoing Ramon Franquesa. Helen Pickering at CEMARE replaced fellow CEMARE colleague Aaron Hatcher as Secretary. Both Henning Jørgensen and Dominique Rommel kindly agreed to continue their respective duties in the Bureau. I think the Association is in very safe hands for a few years to come!
The issue of the next conference of EAFE was raised. All members were delighted when the new Vice-President proposed Salerno, Italy as the next venue. No further proposals were tabled to everyone's relief. We will all need to work extra hard over the next year in order to convince our superiors that we are indeed worthy of presenting at next year's conference. I am sure the thought of the sun, sea, and mouth-watering Italian cuisine will lead us to new inspired heights in the year to come!
Back to the chilly spring weather of Esbjerg. Following the official opening of the conference, the delegates got down to work. Three special sessions had been arranged; namely those of Markets, Capacity,arranged, namely, Markets, Capacity and EU policy. Other more general sessions were also arranged, including socio-economics, bio-economics, management, and news from organisations (including DG Fisheries and OECD). 29 papers were presented in all.
Cathy Wessels of the University of Rhode Island made an excellent keynote introduction to market issues. Her paper "Eco-labelling and international seafood trade: the roles of certification costs and consumers' willingness to pay" wetted theeveryone's appetite. Jonathan Peacey of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) then presented issues and developments of the MSC programme, a programme that I am sure most of us are now aware. The programme is not short of critique and it is hoped that thefurther 'exposure' of the MSC to conference delegates allowed the further discussionand resolving of some of these contentious issues.
Keynote speaker Dale Squires of the National Marine Fisheries Service, USA introduced the issue of "Measuring capacity and capacity utilization in fisheries". Dale, along with his American colleague James Kirkley, is regarded as the main actors in applying industrial capacity theory to fisheries. Their work over the last few years hashave contributed considerably in the overcapacity debate and it is not surprising to find that the majority of the technical background of recent FAO documents is based on their work. Needless to say, his paper was an excellent contribution to the session.
The presence of Dale, Cathy and the MSC at the conference also helped to capture the attention of the local community through two articles in the local newspaper. This will hopefully help to elaborateon the discussion of these two very important issues, in an area of Denmark that is heavily dependent on the long-term sustainability of its fishing industry.
The final special session onon EU policy was introduced by the Director-General of DG Fisheries, Mr. Steffen Smidt. Aspects relating to the revision of the EU common fisheries policy in 2002 are very much at the forefront of research initiatives inat the Commission and at our individual institutions. His presentation (enclosed in this Bulletin) was an excellent introduction to the Commission's views concerning future policy developments and how theydevelopments, outlining their hope to strengthen the ties with fisheries economists in the future. This process will be closely monitored, not least by our newly elected President. Niels Wichmann then introduced the industry's view of currentindustry's view of current EU policy. His presentation certainly brought us all back to earth.
The conference dinner that followed in the evening was an opportunity to relax, as we wined and dined in the surroundings of modern Danish architecture. I think we all agreed that the architect did a better job on the Sydney Opera House! As somebody said, "we all have our off-days". The EAFE 'youth' The EAFE 'youth' contingent then sought out the local nightlife whereas others were content with a return to their respective hotels and a probable nightcap. As noted by Niels Vestergaard the Saturdayfollowing morning, "I am pleased to see that some of you have had time to enjoy some of the social life in Esbjerg". The purpose was merely 'networking'.
The conference organisers were relieved to see the official closure of the conference without any major mishaps. Niels and his staff made an excellent job with the organisation and their service throughout should be complimented. The only factor they did not account for was that of Hans Frost, who managed to delightdelighted conference delegates bywith the unofficial 30-minute tour of the local fishing harbour, harbour and causecausing Niels to tear the remainder of his hair out! However,The consequent delay in the conference programme was soon back on track.programme, however, was soon annulled.
As assistant organiser, I would personally like to thank all those that attended the conference and made the arduous, but scenic trip to Esbjerg. You made it a great success. We plan to edit the conference proceedings as soon as possible and anticipate that they will be ready later in the year. Let's hope it will make for an exciting read and an inspiration for our future research together. Now bring on Salerno 2001!