The fourth major international event on giant freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium spp.) was organised by the Asian Institute of Technology from 20-24 March 2007. The conference was co-hosted by the Thai Department of Fisheries and the Can Tho University, Vietnam. NACA was a sponsor of the event. The conference was preceded by an optional three-day intensive Workshop on Advances in Prawn Hatchery Management. A special session on gender issues was included.

Speakers included Peter Mather (Australia), Md Ayaz Hasan Chisty (Bangladesh), Fatima Ferdouse Razeghpanah (Bangladesh), Patricia Moraes Valenti (Brazil), Wagner Cotroni Valenti (Brazil), Yang Guoliang (China), Zhang Tai-Zhuo (China), C. Mohanakumuran Nair (India), Endhay Kusnendar (Indonesia), Amir Sagi (Israel), Assaf Shechter (Hong Kong), Ilan Karplus (Israel), Mohd Fariduddin Othman (Malaysia), Nyan Taw and Soe Tun (Myanmar), Timothy Pickering (Pacific Islands), Nikolina Kovatcheva (Russia), Rohana Subasinghe (Sri Lanka), Philip T. Cheng, Amararatne Yakupitiyage (Thailand), Donghuo Jiang (Thailand), Rapeepun Vanichviriyakit (Thailand), Uthiarat Na-Nakorn (Thailand), Natthapong Wannapat (Thailand), Nitikorn Piwpong (Thailand), William Daniels (USA), James Tidwell (USA), Nguyen Thanh Vu (Vietnam), Patrick Sorgeloos (Belgium) and Tran Ngoc Hai (Vietnam).

The conference, organised by Salin Krishna (AIT) and Michael New, built on a series of highly successful events that trace back to the very beginnings of the industry. The first conference, Giant Prawn 1980 brought together all those involved in freshwater prawn research and farming for the first time and set many priorities for future research and development. A comprehensive volume of proceedings that summarised the latest research on Macrobrachium at that time was published by Elsevier.

In 2003 the second major Macrobrachium conference (Freshwater Prawn 2003) was organised by C. Mohanakumaran Nair at the College of Fisheries, Kerala Agricultural University, Kochi, the southern Indian city in the State of Kerala. Michael New presented the keynote address in this Conference. This meeting was attended by nearly 500 delegates from all over the world and was a major boost for freshwater prawn farming development in India. Selected papers from this conference were published as a special edition of the international journal, Aquaculture Research. Full proceedings of the meeting were also published by Allied Publishers, New Delhi, India.

In 2011 Michael collaborated with Kerala Agricultural University in India and the World Aquaculture Society to organise the Giant Prawn 2011, the second conference in the series, which was also held in Kochi. This event was held in conjunction with Asian Pacific Aquaculture 2011, the annual conference of the World Aquaculture Society - Asia Pacific Chapter. Selected papers from this conference were also published as a special volume of the Journal Aquaculture Research.

The technical sessions of Giant Prawn 2017 were excellent, wide-ranging and thoroughly enjoyed by all; it is evident that Macrobrachium farming has come a long way since its humble beginnings and has now reached a considerable level of sophistication. Unfortunately Michael New could not attend the event due to unforeseen circumstances at the last minute, but we are assured he was in there in spirit!

Selected papers presented at Giant Prawn 2017 will be published in a special edition of the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society. The proceedings of the conference will also be published in due course.