Aquatic Genetic Resources - A valuable and unexplored reserve of biodiversity for food and agriculture

FAO activities related to Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

This page provides short summaries of FAO’s recent and current activities related to the sustainable use, conservation and development of aquatic genetic resources (AqGR).

Preparation of a Report on the State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources

In 2007 the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the Commission) requested FAO to prepare the first report on The State of the World's Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the Report). The scope of the Report is farmed aquatic species and their wild relatives within national jurisdiction. Following expert and regional consultation a comprehensive questionnaire was developed and distributed to member countries. The Report is based on the 92 Country Reports received which were analysed in the context of published literature, five commissioned thematic background studies and input from regional organisations. The development and revision of the Report was guided by the Commission and its Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Aquatic Genetic Resources, the Committee on Fisheries Advisory Working Group on Aquatic Genetic Resources and Technologies, and reviewers.

A Framework of minimum requirements for conservation, sustainable management, development, conservation and use of aquatic genetic resources

The Framework provides guidance to member countries on a set of essential requirements that would need to be created or better developed to assist countries to effectively conserve, sustainably use and develop their AqGR. The Framework covers five essential components: information and databases; governance, policy and planning; infrastructure and equipment; capacity building and training; and enabling the private sector.

The Framework was developed and validated through a number of rounds of consultation, including a workshop of international experts and two meetings of the Southern African Development Community -WorldFish-FAO- East African Community Platform for Genetics and Biodiversity Management.

Working groups supporting and guiding FAO’s work on aquatic genetic resources

FAO's work on AqGR is guided by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FIA) and the Commission. Specific expertise is accessed through the Committee on Fisheries Advisory Working Group on Aquatic Genetic Resources and Technologies and the Commission's Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Aquatic Genetic Resources.

Towards a Global Plan of Action on aquatic genetic resources

At its 17th Regular Session, in February 2019, the Commission requested FAO to develop a Global Plan of Action for the conservation, sustainable use and development of AqGR for Food and Agriculture (GPA-AqGR). The Global Plan of Action should support: establishing and strengthening national and global characterization, monitoring and information systems; accelerating appropriate development of AqGR for aquaculture; promoting sustainable use and conservation of AqGR; and developing and refining policies, institutions and building capacity.

The GPA-AqGR should provide a framework for the effective management of these resources, address the threat of genetic erosion and promote the appropriate development of resources for aquaculture.