News - October 19, 2015

Meagre start of the twitter debate

Roelof Kleis

The food production at sea is still in the Stone Age. We hunt for fish, but that is mainly it. But the potential of food out of the sea is large, messaged the first twitter debate at Impulse.

The future of our food production can be found in the sea. The seaweed farmer Willem Brandenburg and professor Aquaculture and fishery Johan Verreth strongly agree. ‘The key to food security can be found in the sea’, Brandenburg claims. It is necessary. ‘The population will increase by 2,3 billion people and the earth is not growing.’

Brandenburg, Verreth and Christy van Beek, programme coordinators of food security at Alterra presented at Impulse for twenty listeners. The rest is following through twitter or the livestream of short colleges. The twitter debate is a trial, a way for Wageningen UR to enter into dialogue with society. Followers can post questions or comment through twitter.

But the response is not great. The livestream is followed on about thirty places. There are only a few tweets, and they are mainly from the people in the room. Twitter is an alternative manner of raising your finger in class. Moreover, some of the questions  are from the attending educators and communication experts.

We can learn from the mistakes that the bio-industry made on land
Johan Verreth

That does not make the message less poignant. According to Brandenburg a large portion of the crop production will be moved to sea. According to professor Verreth, the production of fish will have to double in the next fifteen years.  Especially fish breeding will have to increase. Verreth: ‘By intensive forms of breeding and with fish that can cope with this. ‘

How about the environment, will we form a bio industry on the sea?, one of the online debaters wants to know. ‘Intensifying yes, bio industry no’, is Verreth’s reaction. ‘We can learn from the mistakes that the bio-industry made on land. For example by starting off with  making
the producer responsible the environmental costs. What the debaters reaction to this was, is unclear. Debating through twitter, it is not easy.