Jesper Clausen graduated a master degree in Biology with a strong focus on Aquaculture from University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2001. He’s now working at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand.
However this is not the first time Jesper has been in the region. He was in Vietnam for his Master Thesis and that was when he was introduced to Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia Pacific (NACA). He joined NACA as a research associate in Bangkok later on and stayed in Thailand for almost two years. After that he moved to Vietnam and work with DANIDA and The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (KVL) for about two years before he relocated back to Thailand. Now he’s been as an Associate Professional Officer on aquaculture with FAO for more than one year in the FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Department in Bangkok.
Working at FAO
His work at FAO usually deals with issues related to better management practices and food safety of aquaculture products produced in the region. Jesper works with the whole region and also with the Department of Fisheries here in Thailand.
Aquaculture products are an important export commodity for countries in the region as well as an important part of the daily diet for people in the region.
“We are working on ways to improve the food safety at the farm level as well as other on farm management practices that can help the farmers produce better products and to increase their income. We advise farmers and the governments about the import regulations set by importing marks like EU and US.” Jesper explains about his work.
“The aquaculture industry in the region is developing well and I think the quality is improving. The regional governments are putting a lot of focus on good quality and encourage farmers to produce good products.”
Jesper is currently working with FAO and NACA on food safety and guidelines for certification in aquaculture. The work was started a year ago and there is good progress. Capacity building for government officials and for farmers is important aspects of the work and crucial for the sustainability of the work.
In Vietnam he worked with small-scale farmers, culturing marine fish, lobsters, abalone and seaweed. The production in the region is so diverse and it is very interesting both as a biologist point of view but also from a development point of view.
Some of the projects Jesper worked with in the past were on shrimp farming and environmental impacts and Better Management practices in aquaculture. “It is all about making aquaculture sustainable so both farmers and consumers are happy and at the same time taking care of the environment’, Jesper says
Thailand is one of the leading countries when it comes to aquaculture especially shrimp farming which has been growing rapidly. Now Thailand is among the largest shrimp exporting nation in the world.
The governments in the region are paying more attention to food safety. Consumers and super markets in Europe and the US are also very concerned about food safety and how their products are produced. They want to make sure the products are safe to eat and produced in an environmentally sustainable way.
“Actually most products from Asia and the Pacific region are already good quality products and often it is a matter of communicating this to the importing countries.” says Jesper.
Jesper’s life has always been around aquaculture and even his favorite hobby is diving.
“I guess I must have liked the sea a lot, maybe I was a fish in my former life. I like to go diving and most of my works have been related to the marine environment.”
“80% of the aquaculture production is from this region so with my interests Asia is a very good place to be and I like to stay here.” Jesper explains.
“Bangkok is a very easy place to live. It’s a very international city and you can do everything here. Thai people are very friendly. I have a lot of respect for the people in Thailand and their way of living” says Jesper.