AQUA-TNET Annual Meeting, 2014 

26-27th June 2014

Intercontinental Hotel, St. Julian's Bay, Malta




The theme of the meeting was ‘Navigating change – the Aqua-tnet voyage’. As a small island, Malta has been highly dependent on maritime activity – boats and shipping for all its trade and communications.  Our meeting was close to Valetta, which is at the centre of a complex of harbours and marinas which became strongly defended during the period of Turkish attacks in 1547, 1551, 1565 and 1572. The history of the island can be plotted in terms of a series of invasions or seaborne immigrations starting from Sicily in 4500 BC and progressing through the Phoenicians around 1200 BC, the Romans in 218 BC, the Vandals in AD 395, the Byzantine Greeks in 536, the Arabs in 870, the Normans in 1090, the Germans in 1194, The French in 1266, Spanish in 1412, The Order of St John in 1522, another French invasion  in 1788 and finally the British in 1800 until independence in 1964. Each influx bringing new ideologies, technologies, social cultures and political organisations; all leaving traces in the Maltese landscapes and cultural identity. In this historical context, our perceptions of current stability may just be an artefact of the shortness of our own lives as frame of reference. We can reflect on change as ever present – in the world of education just as much as in the spheres of technology or politics.

Of course Malta has not just been a destination; it has also been the departure point for many adventure voyages and emigrations. It also has a strong tradition of ship building.  Joe Borg might be a familiar name to many Aqua-tnet members (Previous Head of EC DG Fisheries & Maritime Affairs) and it was Captain Joseph Borg who sailed from Malta to America and fought with the insurgents for American Independence. He was followed by others so that by 1855 there were 116 Maltese living in the USA. More followed and especially after the First World War there was fairly substantial emigration such that by 1920 Detroit had 5,000 Maltese residents and in 1928 New York had an estimated 9000 Maltese immigrants with San Francisco also hosting a large Maltese population. After the Second World War, the Maltese government paid passage costs for people to emigrate such that in 1954 it was reported that 11,447 Maltese had left the island. By the mid-1990s it was estimated that 70,000 Maltese and their descendants were living in the USA. One very visible sign of this impact has been the transfer of the cross of Malta (going back to the Knights of St John) to the emblem used by most firefighters in the USA. 

It may be a bit of a stretch to compare the Aqua-tnet project with the voyage of an eighteenth century sailing vessel across the Atlantic, but it may help us to consider the hazards and challenges we have faced and overcome, the necessary changes in direction that have had to be made and the new discoveries we have found through sharing this international and multicultural life on board. As this particular voyage comes to an end, we might also think of what symbols, values and treasures we have brought with us to pass on to future adventurers in the seas of aquaculture and fisheries learning and knowledge.  Our final and perhaps greatest challenge of this voyage is to learn from the life of St Paul and avoid a Maltese shipwreck whilst sharing in a Damascus Road vision of new opportunities and directions! 

Download Pre-event Information PDF 


Project review video - Aqua-tnet The Voyage so Far



Tuesday 24th June

ICT workshop on digital teaching skills  

Wednesday 25th June 

09:00                    Digital teaching skills workshop continues

19:00                     Early meeting registration opens   
19:30                     Evening meal at the Intercontinental

Annual Meeting

Thursday 26th June

08:30                     Registration continued
09:00 – 09:15        Welcome address – Robert Vassallo-Agius, Head of Malta Aquaculture Research Centre
                               (Presentation on Aquaculture in Malta - also on Video)
09:15 – 09:30        Reflections on the Aqua-tnet journey
09:30 – 10:10        Keynote: Professor Luc François 
10:10 – 10:30        Presentation on Erasmus+ (from EC)

10:30 - 11:00          Coffee break

11:00 – 11:10          Jean Dhont - Relevant outcomes of the AqASEM09 project
11:10 - 11:20           Aquaculture International Special Issue
11:20 – 11:30          Anticipating the future (See Interviews on YouTube)
11:30 – 12:30          From past to future – round-table and open discussion

12:30 – 13:30           Lunch

13:30 – 15:00        WP5 Life Long Learning Workshop                                   
                                 Sonia Seixas: ECVET, NQF and EQF results                                 
                                 Margaret Eleftheriou: ECVET, ECTS and ESCO initiative                                 
                                 Richard Curmi: EQF-ECVET and ECTS a case study  (+YouTube Interview)
                                 Round table discussion

15:00 – 15:30        Coffee break

15:30 –                   Workpackage meetings
19:00                      Bus leaves hotel for dinner

Friday 27th June
08:45 – 10:30        Workpackage presentations (1 – 6)
                              08:45: Mike Moulton (WP1)
                              09:00: Peter Bossier (WP2)
                              09:15: Lluis Tort (WP3)
                              09:30: Cristina Pita/Graham Pierce (WP4)
                              09:45: Kim Jauncey (WP5b), Bernd Ueberschaer (WP5c)
                              10:15: Jean Dhont  (WP6)

10:30 – 11:00        Coffee break

11:00 – 11:30        Workpackage presentations (7 and 8)
                              11:00: Marieke Reuver (WP7)
                              11:15 Kim Jauncey (WP8)

11:30 – 12:15        Discussion: proposals for further actions and collaborations
12:15 – 12:30        Comments from External Reviewer – Andrew Smith
12:30 – 12:45        Administrative issues
12:45 – 13:00        Thanks and close
13:00                     End  


Photographs from the event are shared in our Facebook Group Malta 2014 Album,where you can also discuss any issues arising from the meeting or presentations. You can also discuss the event on Twitter using the hashtag #aquatnet or via the Aqua-tnet Discussion Group on LinkedIn.


Aqua-tnet members share their thoughts on future directions at the meeting in Malta