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Caveat emptor: When is an aquaculture conference not an aquaculture conference?


January 26, 2016
By John Mosig

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Aquaculture conferences have long been the networking ground for the three branches of aquaculture – the growers, the equipment providers, and the researchers pushing back the barriers of uncertainty.

 Take away the industry people and conferences lose a lot of their meaning. Suppliers have no one to whom to show their wares and researchers have no one to tell of their breakthrough discoveries. Growers, bombarded with a plethora of aquaculture conference dates, are becoming more selective of which conferences they can afford to attend.

 On top of this, there has been a move from “Predatory Publishing” to “Predatory Conferencing.” Predatory publishing is the practice of luring unwary academics into publishing, and being invoiced for the “privilege,” in what are loosely called scientific journals. These publications carry out none of the peer-group reviews that are expected to give the pieces a degree of authenticity. One of the most notorious of these – OMICS – displays as its website banner the heading “Accelerating Scientific Discovery.” It has now branched out into organizing conferences.

 One of their recent imbroglios was entitled the International Conference on Aquaculture & Fisheries in Brisbane, Australia. Trade representatives were told they’d be part of at least 25 stallholders; there were three. Keeton Industries of Colorado USA brought a team of six across expecting several hundred attendees. They numbered in their dozens.

 Roy Palmer, is a high profile aquaculture identity who serves on the Board of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS). He’d been contacted to be part of the conference and have his name displayed on the website. He became wary when OMICS’s US representative gave lots of excuses as to why he couldn’t catch up with Roy, who just happened to be in the City of Angels at the time.

 Roy made no commitment, but when he returned home he found that his name and photo were on the OMIC’s website for the Brisbane conference. He checked with a few others who were also listed on the website and none of them were aware of their names being used.

 Speakers from as far away as Canada, Chile, Egypt, Nigeria, Iran and China were charged to deliver papers. Many speakers didn’t even turn up. The organizer, Monas Kumar, blamed visa issues. By the second day people were walking out and a speaker from Iran found himself addressing empty seats after paying US$799 for the privilege, plus airfare and accommodation.

Could this be an answer?

 In what seems a timely moment, but is quite coincidental, Roy has developed an app that will list aquaculture and related conferences around the globe, which he said would most assuredly vet any such bogus conference as the one mentioned above.

 This Global Seafood Event App will not only assist the industry but will also help event planners engage attendees with advanced mobile technology. The App aggregates content created on social networks into a single timeline and allows attendees to post messages and photos directly from the app. The App has the ability to add value to seafood events with features such as schedules, maps, speaker/sponsor profiles, and more.

 You can access the application searching in the App Store™ and Google Play™ using keywords ‘Seafood Professionals.’

John Mosig


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