This was the first time that ISTA meeting was held in a country that hosted it before. The first ISTA was held in Nazareth, Israel in 1983. It was the initiative of Prof. Lev Fishelson and Prof. Zvi Yaron of Tel Aviv University, who received an appreciation plaque from the organizing committee of ISTA10 at the closing of the symposium.
ISTA10 attracted around 200 participants from over 40 countries. During the opening ceremony, the attendees were addressed by the Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ghanaian Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, a representative of MASHAV, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the chairmen of the host organizations. The host organizations presented plaques of appreciation for contribution to the development of Israeli tilapia culture to Mr. Eran Lahav of Kibbutz Nir David, Mr. Dan Mires of Kibbutz Ein Mamifratz (former director of the Dept. of Fisheries), Mr. Amitay Geva and Mr. Yitzhak Simon of the Extension Service, and Prof. Gideon Hulata of the Agricultural Research Organization.
The symposium covered various general aspects related to tilapia culture – culture systems and management, nutrition, diseases and health management, reproduction, genetics and breeding programs, as well as disciplinary topics of endocrinology, physiology and sex determination. The program consisted of some 80 lectures, 10 of which were invited and presented by leading Israeli and international experts. At the outset of the symposium, Prof. Yoram Kapulnik (head of the Agricultural Research Organization) presented his vision about possible solutions to the global food crisis. Further details can be found on the symposium's website at http://www.ista10.com. The best oral presentation award, sponsored by AquaFish Innovations Lab of Oregon State University, USA, went to Mrs. Orly Eshel, graduate student (PhD candidate) at the Faculty of Agriculture, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, supervised by Prof. Micha Ron and Prof. Gideon Hulata.
Israeli producers and suppliers of fish feeds, production systems, technology and control, biotechnology and other new products exhibited during the symposium.
As a tradition established a few ISTA meetings ago, the Dutch Tilapia International Foundation (TIF; http://www.tilapiastichting.nl/) presented an award in memory of its founder, the late father Dr. Jan D.F. Heijne. The motto of the foundation is "Je Dois Faire" (I can do it) and its objective is "Rearing tilapia to fight malnutrition". This year's award went to Mr. Israel Snir in "recognition of his outstanding efforts to stimulate sustained improvement of worldwide human living standards" and for his 43 years of playing a vital role in making tilapia reach the top five most consumed species category in USA, and one of the most consumed species in the world today! Israel Snir, born in Kibbutz Neve Eitan, Israel, started his carrier in the kibbutz's fish farm, and later on was involved in initiating the first fish processing plant in Israel (Dag Shean), before going abroad to make a living outside Israel, engaged with tilapia. Israel Snir became an internationally renowned entrepreneur and consultant. His 'flagship' was the project in Honduras, where he established a complex consisting of a successful large-scale fish farm, housing, education and health services for the community working on the farm.
A post-symposium professional trip took the participants to the major center of tilapia culture in Israel – Springs (Bet Shean) Valley. The trip included visits to fish ponds and reservoirs at Kibbutz Maoz Haim, where harvesting fish from a water-full reservoir was displayed; to "Zemach Feed Mills" and "Dagat Haaretz" packaging plant in Nir David; and to the 'old Gesher' site where an international program for rehabilitation of the Jordan River, including fish farms along it, was presented
Will Leschen (Stirling U, UK): There was strong representation of Africans at the Symposium including from: Swaziland , Nigeria, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Kenya; and including larger party from Ghana composing of Minister, Fish Farmers from the Volta, Researchers (WRI Akosombo), Dept of Fisheries, and Raanan Feeds http://www.raananfishfeed-wa.com/ who supported their attendance
Hillary Egna (OSU, USA): Thank you for the excellent conference. It was the best ISTA I have been to. The local organizing team was all great with logistics and it showed!
M. Gulam Hussain (BFRI, Bangladesh): ISTA-10 Symposium this year in Jerusalem has been tremendously organised. You and your colleagues of the organising committee have the right to get all the credits of the success of ISTA10.
Zvi Yaron (Israel): Congratulations on a professionally organized symposium, and thanks for giving me the honor award.
Tetsuzan Benny Ron (UH, USA): Thank you for a wonderful symposium!!!
Nontawith Areechon (Kasetsart University, Thailand): We thank you very much for the wonderful arrangement of ISTA10. We have had a great time in the symposium and sensational scenery of Jerusalem.
Randall Brummett (World Bank, USA):I thought the ISTA came off pretty well. Congrats! It was great to see you and so many other people, and get caught up. I hope that you got what you were looking for.
David Little (Striling U, UK):ISTA 10 was my long overdue first visit to Israel and a great opportunity to see first-hand the 'Israeli tilapia experience'. The meeting gave a good opportunity to meet many of the pioneers of the global tilapia industry and to better understand how a small arid country has been so influential on its development. Of course over the years I have met and worked with many of you outside of Israel but many pieces fell into place during my visit. The meeting was superbly organized with the right blend of structure but informality, scientific focus but cultural and social context. The cultural tours and scientific excursion were highly informative and your attention to detail made them memorable and very valuable from personal and professional perspectives. In general the hospitality shown by you and your team was fantastic. In short a very, very good week and I hope I can return sooner than later.
Alejandro Tola Alvarez (Genomar): Congratulations for a well-organized and very informative Symposium. I particularly enjoyed the energy of Jerusalem.
Israel Snir (recipient of 2013 Heine award): We will always remember our last week in Jerusalem, unforgettable days. We didn’t expect, nor were prepared, for such an experience, both intellectual and emotional. First of course the professional encountering with so many scientist which enriched us profoundly, and secondly, equally important, the social, direct intimate meetings with so many colleagues and old friends from around the world. For so many years I made my living, engaged with Tilapia, outside Israel. All these years, I was partially aware of the difficulties of the Israeli fish farming community. However, I wasn’t aware for yours continued efforts in undertaking so much research on Tilapia, despite of budgets constrains and always administrational cuts. The presentations, mainly by the young researchers, were very impressive, exciting, although must admit great part of them I couldn’t understand… I saw in them a very promising new generation to carry on the Tilapia legacy. They made me very proud. I still don’t know who suggested me for the award. Whoever they were, I am sure in front of them wasn’t me personally but all those who are directly and indirectly benefiting from the Tilapia success in their day to day life. It is hard to describe, but it is a story that needs to be told, to be revealed, to put the Tilapia in prospective to all other aquaculture activities. Not here and now the place and the occasion, but definitely slowly slowly Tilapia is making the change, gaining its recognition, fulfilling the promise, realizing the hope. For this and other reasons, in my behalf, my family, in the name of all the children, families, communities, I want to say thank you and let you know how much appreciative we all are. I must congratulate you all for the excellent organization, for the personal care to each and every single participant, for the very detailed attention to all. Gidi, Sara and all the other members of your team made this event so much unique. My memories from ISTA 1 are still fresh – so I hope this wasn’t just closing the circle but just one more link in more to come. I can foresee Tilapia reaching 10 million ton a year in less the next 10 years.
Felix Attipoe (CSIR-Water Research Institute, Ghana): It is our belief that the hard work and effort you and your team put in the organization of ISTA 10 resulted in its tremendous success. We wish you and your team God's blessings. It is our belief that your numerous contributions have helped in no small way to put tilapia culture on the global map!
Olivier Decamp (INVE Aquaculture, Thailand): I would like to thank you for the organization of the ISTA10 congress. It was my first tilapia congress and I found the congress very interesting, with a range of collaborations being discussed.
Jacques Magnée (Raanan Fish Feed West Africa Ltd.):It was a great symposium for its content, and all the moments we shared together.
Daniel Ama-Abasi (University of Calabar, Nigeria): This is to express my profound gratitude to you and your team at the Secretariat for the success of the ISTA10 Conference. The organization of the conference was superb and for me, as first time in Jerusalem, it was one of its kind. You really took good care of us.
Alexandre Hilsdorf (University of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil): First of all, I would like to thank the warm reception during the ISTA in Israel. For me to visit Jerusalem was a unique experience.