The two-day international conference on “fisheries and aquaculture” is organized by the Government College University (GCU) Lahore’s Zoology Department in collaboration with leading industries.
Vice-Chancellor GCU Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi chaired the inaugural session of the conference which was also addressed by the Vice-Chancellor University of Education (UoE) Prof Talat Naseer Pasha, Director General Punjab Fisheries Department Dr Sikander Hayat and Secretary Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries (FWF) Mr Shahid Zaman.
In his opening remarks, Principal Organizer Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Tahir said that the purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers, academicians, the farming community and industry stakeholders on one platform.
The biggest immediate challenge to universities is enhancing the employability of their graduates, said VC Prof Dr Zaidi while addressing. “We have been told by the industry that you send us your best graduates and we have to teach them again,” said Prof Zaidi, adding that they have to upskill their graduates to make them useful for the industry in Pakistan and abroad.
Prof Zaidi said conferences like these are an opportunity where academia and industry can sit in a very frank atmosphere, tell them where they have fallen short and what they need to do to make their graduates productive members of Industry. He welcomed the three international participants to the conference including Dr Jhon Sweetman who has 40 years of experience in the field of Aquaculture.
Secretary Fisheries Shahid Zaman said that no industry can flourish without support from academia and researchers. However, he said the government is providing subsidies to the private sector to flourish in the fisheries sector so that they can fulfil the commercial demand and biodiversity in the rivers can be protected.
Dr Sikander Hayat shed light on the introduction of new technologies for improved fish production. FiskaTech Business Head Saad Yousaf and CEO Alltech Muhammad Khaleeq Arshad also addressed the first session.
Besides faculty and students from 25 universities, about 19 industries working in the fisheries sector are participating in the conference spread over six technical sessions.