New Steering Group Chairs take the helm

Ann-Lisbeth Agnalt is the new Chair for Aquaculture Steering Group, and Andy Kenny is leading the Human Activities, Pressures, and Impacts Steering Group.
Published: 28 January 2022
​​​The new year brings changes to the leadership of our Aquaculture (ASG) and Human Activities, Pressures and Impacts (HAPISG) steering groups. We spoke to the new chairs Ann-Lisbeth Agnalt, Institute of Marine Research Norway and Andy Kenny, Cefas UK, and asked them about their expectations about their new roles.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role as a Steering Group Chair?

Ann-Lisbeth: I am excited to learn more about the different expert groups and their current focus as well as thoughts and ideas on how we can move forward with science in aquaculture, from a sustainable perspective. I am also very much looking forward to working closely with ICES Secretariat, Science Committee (SCICOM), and Advisory Committee (ACOM), and to learn more about ICES as an organization.

Andy: Working with scientists that have such a wide range of expertise is particularly appealing to me, especially as my research background is also quite diverse. In this role, I am definitely looking forward to learning a lot more about what each of the expert groups are working on.

What do you see as the biggest challenges?

Ann-Lisbeth: In a global perspective, aquaculture is not only growing as food producer/supplier but is also becoming more important than traditional fisheries in many geographical areas. The biggest challenge we are facing with aquaculture is related to the environmental effects, and many of the topics are being dealt with in the different expert groups. Most aquaculture sites are currently located close to shore, makingarea or site availability a possible challenge in the near future.

How ICES as a scientific community communicates the scientific findings and progress in this work is of great importance, also for the consumers' perception of what sustainable aquaculture products are.

I also believe that climate change is something aquaculture needs to consider in future scenarios, from small-scale to the larger picture. Drivers like temperature, oxygen, and ocean acidification will have an impact but understanding future effects will hopefully make us capable of identifying mitigation measures.

Andy: It is clear we are entering unprecedented times for marine management, driven by a growing demand for both living and non-living resources, whilst at the same time dealing with the consequences of marine climate change. We face huge challenges in implementing more integrative assessment approaches that can be applied to optimise the benefits of developing marine resources in an equitable and sustainable way across multiple sectors, whilst also making sure vital ecosystem processes and functions including biodiversity are sufficiently well protected. I believe that addressing this challenge has to be, and is, a priority for organizations like ICES engaged in providing scientific advice for sustainability.

Do you have any new ideas you wish to bring to ICES in this role?

Ann-Lisbeth: Unambiguously, I will of course continue the good work of the previous chair Michael Rust, focusing on science and advisory topics in aquaculture. I do have a few new ideas for expert groups that I would like to discuss with the aquaculture community.

Andy: There are three key areas I would like HAPISG to focus on over the next three years. First, identifying and developing the synergies that exist between expert groups, especially in terms of meeting the objectives of ICES Science Plan and contributing to ICES Ecosystem Based Management framework. Second, promoting the development of standards and guidelines for good practice with a focus on human activity spatial data and the development of web-based applications to facilitate human activity and pressures impact assessments. And finally, promoting and supporting the development of products that assess individual human activities, pressures and impacts, and their cumulative effects on the marine environment for operational use within the wider ICES community.

What would you like to say to your community?

Ann-Lisbeth: As ICES is an arena for sharing the science, and thus facilitating cooperation and research, it is a great honour to use my knowledge and experience in leading and coordinating aquaculture in a joint team effort with the expert groups.

I would also like to emphasize that in the context of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, sustainability is the key and focus. I would very much like to contribute in making ICES Aquaculture Steering Group best fit for such a challenge.

Andy: I am looking forward to working with and supporting all the HAPISG experts in whatever way I can, and to help the expert groups successfully achieve their objectives so we can move a step closer to achieving clean, safe, productive, and biodiverse aquatic ecosystems – as it should be.

ICES would like to thank the outgoing chairs, Michael Rust, NOAA (Aquaculture Steering Group) and Sarah Bailey, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Human Activities, Pressures and Impacts Steering Group), for their excellent leadership during their terms.

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​Andy Ken​ny and Ann-Lisbeth Agnalt.

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New Steering Group Chairs take the helm

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