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

Preparation of the first State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Introduction

The conservation and sustainable use of aquatic genetic resources have crucial roles to play in order for aquaculture to grow sustainably and meet the world’s increased food demands. To facilitate these roles the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) 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 will be farmed aquatic species and their wild relatives within national Jurisdiction; the Report will address inventories of aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture, the drivers impacting them, in situ and ex situ conservation, stakeholders, legislation and policies, institutional capacities, research and international collaboration. Prepared by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department under the guidance of the CGRFA, the Report will provide the first comprehensive analysis of the world’s aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture.

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The Report will enhance knowledge of aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture by:

  • Complementing the ongoing efforts of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department to collect, analyze and disseminate information on the status and trends on fisheries and aquaculture;
  • Documenting past, current and planned patterns of exchange of aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • Documenting the state and trends of the world’s aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • Identifying major drivers and their direct and indirect impacts on aquatic genetic resources;
  • Identifying key technologies that can enhance the contribution of aquatic genetic resources to food security and livelihoods;
  • Identifying key stakeholders and the roles they play in the conservation, sustainable use and management of aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • Documenting the state of institutional capacity and measures/mechanisms in place to promote the conservation, sustainable use and management of aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • Prioritizing main needs and constraints encountered by countries for the conservation, sustainable use and management of aquatic genetic resources, including access and benefit sharing;
  • Identifying significant gaps to be addressed in promoting the responsible use of aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture; and
  • Providing information on activities that aim to contribute to the achievement of the Aichi Targets (particularly Targets 6, 7 and 13, and FAO’s Strategic Objective 2).

The Report will further facilitate the implementation articles of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and specifically Article 9.3 Use of aquatic genetic resources for the purposes of aquaculture including culture-based fisheries.