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The FAO Aquaculture Newsletter

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August 1997, No. 16

Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, Fisheries Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, 00100 Italy
Tel: 39-6-57054795 Fax: 39-6-57053020. E-mail: Ziad.Shehadeh@fao.org



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India: Farmers net out Indian Catla carp from their village pond


Introducing AAPQIS: the FAO's Aquatic Animal
Pathogen and Quarantine Information System

Rohana Subasinghe and J. Richard Arthur

External assistance to the aquaculture sector in developing countries
Ziad H. Shehadeh and J. Orzesko

The FAO/DFID Expert Consultation on Inland
Fishery Enhancements:
James McDaid Kapetsky and B. Born

Recent trends in global aquaculture production: 1984-1995
Krishen Rana

Projects and other activities

New FAO Publications



The FAO Aquaculture Newsletter (FAN) is issued three times a year by the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, Fishery Resources Division, of FAO's Fisheries Department, Rome, Italy. It presents articles and views from the FAO aquaculture programme and discusses various aspects of aquaculture as seen from the perspective of both Headquarters and the field programme. Articles are contributed by FAO staff from within and outside the Fisheries Department, from FAO regional offices and field projects, by FAO consultants and, occasionally, by invitation from other sources. The FAN is distributed free of charge to various institutions, scientists, planners and managers in Member Countries and has a current circulation of about 3,000 copies. It is also available on the FAO internet Home Page: http://www.fao.org./waicent/fishery/

Editor: Ziad H. Shehadeh

Editorial Board: Mario Pedini, Albert Tacon, Robin Welcomme

Layout and Production: Sylviane Borghesi


Fishery Enhancement and the

Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

An article in this issue presents the conclusions of the FAO/DFID Consultation on Inland Fishery Enhancements. The topic of enhancements has been treated on previous occasions in FAN (issue 12, April 1996; issue 14, December 1996) and the outcome of the forthcoming International Symposium on Stock Enhancement and Sea Ranching (Bergen, Norway, 8 - 11 September 1997) will, in due course, be reported in these pages. This concentration on techniques on the borderline of aquaculture which are aimed at improving yields per unit area and for increasing control over the production process in lakes, reservoirs, rivers and even marine coastal areas, is symptomatic of the changing view of management in many parts of the world. Clearly, the increasing demand for fish for food and for social and recreational amenity that is being placed on the fishery and on waters, which are themselves subject to a number of other uses, is leading to an intensification of management through stocking, fertilization and other practices. Such approaches have been used for many years to bias natural productivity and species composition towards goals set by society, but only rarely has there been any scientific study of the processes involved. Such is the present scale of fish production from aquaculture installations and abstraction of young from natural stocks for the purpose of stocking into other bodies of water, that it is now necessary to evaluate most carefully the economics and ecology of the various practices. One motive for this is clearly financial in that the cost of seed is a major input in the cost-benefit relationship and, as governments are now less enthusiastic about subsidising production of this type, the private sector is increasingly called upon to pay the full cost of management. A further reason is that many countries have adhered to the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries or are subject to conservationist pressures for the management of their natural resources. The provisions of the Code frequently require careful interpretation in the case of intensified fisheries. It is central to the philosophy of enhancements that the various methods are deliberately aimed at changing the productivity of the water, the nature of the fish stock, and even the form and function of the environment. As such they conflict with the conservation oriented requirements of the Code in that they involve a shift of the management of natural resources from some criterion of sustainable yield towards input-output based systems. These, in common with aquaculture, are aimed at increasing the overall supply of fish available for human consumption. As most enhanced fisheries require high levels of inputs of fish seed, feed, fertilizers etc., they can only be regarded as sustainable in the sense that any agricultural or aquacultural activity is sustainable. That is, that the practice may continue from year-to-year at the same levels of input and offtake without noticeable degradation to the natural support system. This means that the financial and social need for the enhancement should be clearly established and that any impacts on the natural system should be monitored as closely as possible. It also implies that different levels of control should be applied depending on the intensity of the activity. For instance systems which are simply stocked in support of capture fisheries should have little effect on surrounding waters and would require little special provision. Those requiring large inputs of fry and fertilizers, on the other extreme, should be carried out in waterbodies isolated as far as possible from other parts of the system so that nutrient rich effluents or escapes of stocked fish are kept to a minimum. Thus to better comply with the spirit of the Code of Conduct, and the need to establish viable and sustainable rural enterprises, enhancement of fisheries in inland and coastal water should not be allowed to proliferate anarchically but should be subject to assessments of social, economic and environmental impacts.

Robin L. Welcomme, Chief

Inland Water Resources Service

Fishery Resources Division