World leading collaborative centre is re-invigorated welcoming new co-directors to continue to tackle global aquaculture challenges.

7 March 2024

People posing for photo

Since 2017, experts from the Centre for Environment, Aquaculture and Fisheries Science (Cefas) and the University of Exeter have been working together as part of a joint initiative, the Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures (SAF). This week, those experts came together at the Exeter Science Park on the 5th March to reflect on the successes of the partnership and to re-invigorate the initiative, identifying the future of the collaboration and priority research areas. 

As part of the event, the Centre welcomed a new co-director from Cefas, Dr Ronny van Aerle and deputy co-director Dr Elisa Capuzzo, who will serve alongside co-director Professor Charles Tyler from the University of Exeter. SAF will continue to form partnerships with world-leading scientists, governments, eNGOs and industry to establish a network of experts in aquatic organism health, food safety and socio-economic developments and the protection of aquatic environments. 

Deputy co-director of SAF, Dr Elisa Capuzzo said:

"Aquaculture plays a key role in ensuring food security and livelihood globally. However, there are many challenges that affect its sustainable and safe development. SAF represents an ideal platform to address some of these challenges from a multidisciplinary perspective, combining environmental, pathogenic, genetic, and socio-economic sciences.” 

New co-director of SAF, Dr Ronny van Aerle said:

“SAF tackles critical global challenges related to the development of safe and sustainable aquaculture by bringing together experts from a wide variety of disciplines. A central pillar of our mission is to facilitate knowledge exchange, and offer training opportunities for students, staff, and stakeholders". 

With the world's population set to increase to almost 10 billion by 2050, providing future generations with safe and sustainable farmed seafood is one of the critical challenges researchers working with the centre will address. Sustainable development of aquaculture production will require innovative research, and the translation of this research into practical solutions". 

SAF was officially launched at the Cefas Science Conference by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove in October 2017. Since its inception, SAF has brought together top scientists from around the world to carry out research to ensure that the key global challenges in developing aquaculture for safe and sustainable food production are addressed.  

Professor Charles Tyler from the University of Exeter, said:

"SAF has provided a great hub for bringing together colleagues at Exeter and Cefas to work on a wide variety of exciting projects in aquaculture with truly meaningful impact. Working through SAF, we are driving an initiative we have called ‘aquaculture through the one health lens’ adopting a highly interdisciplinary approach to address the global challenge of enhancing food production from water in a more sustainable way. SAF is working both nationally and internationally and major areas of activity are centred on supporting the aquaculture development for the lives of people in low, food deficit countries. I am very much looking forward to working with Ronny and Elisa, and engaging new people, for developing the next phase of SAF to support the challenges of more sustainable food production systems". 

Following the event, SAF will continue to establish the UK’s position as a world leader in marine science and sustainability and strengthen collaboration in the area of aquaculture.