Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

New ‘vision’ needed for Asian trawl fisheries - Asia Pacific Fishery Commission

Danang, Viet Nam, 22 Sep 2012 -- The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) has called for more effective management of the trawl sector in Asia, which balances the need to sustain marine fishery ecosystems with the demand for feeds for aquaculture.

Meeting in Da Nang, Viet Nam, APFIC members recognized the challenges facing the region’s fisheries including overfishing in coastal areas particularly from trawling and the use of non-selective fishing gears. At the same time the need to sustain the livelihoods of large numbers of small-scale fishers as well as to meet the demand for low value fish/trash fish for feeds in marine/coastal aquaculture was noted.

Dr. Simon Funge-Smith, Secretary of APFIC said, “We need to develop a vision for more effective management of the trawl sector in Asia. This vision should balance the demands for fish for human consumption and aquaculture feeds with the need to sustain ecosystems and improve capture fishery quality.”

APFIC members agreed to work towards better management of the region’s trawl fisheries including the development of enhanced risk-based assessment methods, the availability of best practice advice for trawl management and the reduction of trawl bycatch.

The APFIC members furthermore recognized the considerable contribution the region’s aquaculture industry makes to food security and export income.
“Asian aquaculture continues to be a major growth sector but it is largely underpinned by the use of feeds made from low value or trash fish from marine trawl fisheries.   The region needs to work towards the availability and use of responsibly sourced fish feeds,” said Dr. Funge-Smith.

Other recommendations adopted by the APFIC session included the need for better understanding of changes in fish catch and structure of the fishery sector to support more effective management measures. The need for more effective governance to address fisheries overcapacity and illegal and unreported fishing was emphasized as was the need for the use of science-based approaches for the establishment of protected areas, deployment of artificial reefs and protection/closure of key habitats. In addition, the need to better recognize the important contribution of inland fisheries in the region was recognized.

Asia and the Pacific are the most important regions of fish production in the world, through their capture fisheries and aquaculture. Capture fisheries production in Asia and the Pacific region reached 48.7 million tonnes in 2010, representing over half of the world’s capture fishery production, valued at $48.3 billion. At the same time, the Asia and the Pacific region produced 53.1 million tonnes of farmed aquaculture products (excluding aquatic plants), representing 89 percent of global aquaculture production and worth some US$ 95.2 billion.

APFIC held its 4th Regional Consultative Forum Meeting and 32nd Session from 17th to 22nd September 2012, in Da Nang, Viet Nam hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The events brought together representatives from governments, international organizations and civil society to exchange views on issues relating to improving management and governance of fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region.

Countries represented at one or both of the events were: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, USA and Viet Nam.

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