Unusual setting for a "normal" conference, but already a familiar image for the Summer Shoal: participants sit in a circle under the open sky.
Summer Shoal 2022
After a three-year break due to the pandemic, the Summer Shoal took place again at the end of June in Pedras d'el Rei in the Algarve. It was already the fourth edition of this extraordinary conference, where participants sit together in the open air.
One speaker said that what he was presenting to us were, for the time being, thoughts spoken aloud, which he would not have dared to do at a "normal" conference, but here we were among ourselves. He hit the nail on the head: the Summer Shoal is about low barriers, about breaking down fears of contact, about direct contact with each other. We will continue in doing so not only at the next Summer Shoal but on each day until then and beyond!
This year, we welcomed Felicity Huntingford, a pioneer in the field of fish welfare, who took us through 60 years of literature to find out what behavioural need is and whether fishes have it. Vivek Rachuri and Sena Deniz Kıraç from the non-governmental organisations Fish Welfare Initiative and Kafessiz Türkiye spoke about the situation of aquaculture in India and Turkey. In Auke Pasterkamp (seaconcept.nl) we had a representative of the fishing industry as a guest who described his path from sceptic to convinced supporter of fisheries certification. These four people alone would probably never have met under other circumstances—and there were a total of 40 people from science, veterinary medicine, from non-governmental organisations and certifiers who contributed their perspectives.
Participants at the 2022 edition of the Summer Shoal in Pedras d'el Rei in the Algarve.
The fisheries part of the Summer Shoal was particularly eagerly awaited this time because fair-fish international, together with its partners FishEthoGroup, CCMAR, Friend of the Sea, and DeMoS, presented the pioneering project "Carefish/catch", which addresses the so far neglected fish welfare in fisheries.
The unexpectedly emotional conclusion was provided by artist Hélène Gugenheim (DeMoS), who encouraged participants to tell very personal stories related to fish or the fish-human community. With her project "The Wake", she wants to raise awareness of the fact that we are all part of the ocean family—also unthinkable at a "normal" conference.
With the unusual concept of the Summer Shoal, we hope to have laid the foundation for new food for thought and possibly even new collaborations. We are looking forward to the next edition in the open air.