Dr. Thierry Chopin and HSH Prince Albert II of MonacoDr. Thierry Chopin, scientific director of the Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network, based at UNB Saint John, was an invited panelist at the 7th Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI) held in São Paulo, Brazil, April 3-4.

MBI was launched in 2010 at the initiative of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and is co-organized by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Oceanographic Institute, Foundation Albert I, Prince of Monaco.

It’s members meet annually to discuss the current global challenges of ocean protection and preservation. MBI is an effective platform for communication and exchange between representatives from different backgrounds to analyze and identify possible synergies between the protection of marine ecosystems and socio-economic development.

Sixty participants met to discuss four panels related to the theme “Sustainable aquaculture at the heart of a blue economy.” Thierry Chopin was a panelist for a session focussed on “No waste, no pollution, more value: aquaculture in the circular economy.”

“As Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is about optimizing systems, nature bio-mimicking, industrial ecology, and considering nutrients not as waste but food, it fits very well within the circular economy approach,” says Chopin.

“Beyond recapturing nutrients, IMTA is also about giving more value to co-products, through their valorization and the diversification of their applications. Moreover, the ecosystem services provided by extractive aquaculture will have to be recognized, properly valued and used as financial and regulatory incentive tools.”

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the conference, took notes, listened to the debates, and particularly enjoyed when Thierry Chopin did his IMTA dance (a variation on YMCA by Village People).

“The Prince, a very approachable person, told me later in the day that it was a great way to make sure that he will remember IMTA in the future.”