UAPB market-based models aid aquaculture policy makers

Will Hehemann School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

Dr. Madan Dey, professor of aquaculture/seafood
economics and marketing at the 1-Jan-Market Based ModelsUniversity of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, has developed several market-based models to aid aquaculture and fisheries policy makers on a local and global scale. His paper, Fish to 2030: The Role and Opportunity for Aquaculture, was recently published in the Aquaculture Economics and Management journal.

“As the world population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, global food production is going to be a top concern,” Dr. Dey said. “My research works have been focused on aquaculture and fisheries in the context of sustainable and increased global food production.”

Dr. Dey was a member of a six-person research team commissioned by the World Bank Group to develop market models specific to the fish sector using a vast amount of data collected by member countries of the United Nations from the 1970s to 2008. The core research team included members of the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“While the idea of scientific models may seem abstract, they are used to disseminate information and analysis on trends and phenomena,” Dr. Dey said. “Our models help reveal the aquaculture and fisheries trends in communities across the globe, as well as the intervention policies being developed by biologists, ecologists and stakeholders.”

The models were developed to accommodate the strategies of agencies, policy makers and consumers as the global aquaculture and fisheries industry changes in the next 15 years. Simply put, according to Dr. Dey, stakeholders can look to trends in the industry to plan their business strategies.

“For example, the model shows that the demand for high-quality fish products is increasing at higher rates in countries such as China,” Dr. Dey said. “This phenomenon could represent a substantial market opportunity for fish producers in Arkansas. In fact, I recently received a call from a catfish processor about export opportunities in Asia.”

The model can be applied on a broader scale and analyze changes in the aquaculture/seafood markets of even larger geographic areas, he said. Parts of sub-Saharan Africa represent another market with large growth potential.

The model is not limited to gauging growth opportunities, Dr. Dey said. The study included a hypothetical major disease outbreak in shrimp aquaculture in Asia. The researchers calculated the amount of time it would take to restore the affected shrimp population to baseline level.

“The tool we developed is very flexible and can be used in a number of situations,” Dr. Dey said. “In fact, there is potential for its use in ways we haven’t thought of yet.”

This gives all types of users the chance to use data in interesting and innovative ways, he said. His research team has been invited by researches at Harvard University looking to use the tool to investigate the impact of the aquaculture on nutrition in developing countries. His research team at UAPB is developing other ways to expand on the tool’s capabilities.

“Collaborating with other universities, governments and industry leaders ensures UAPB is conducting timely, cutting-edge research in the field of aquaculture and fisheries,” he said.

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