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ELECTRONIC FORUM ON BIOTECHNOLOGY IN
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: CONFERENCE 4
This conference ran from August 1 - October 8, 2000.


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    How appropriate are currently available biotechnologies for the fishery sector in developing countries ?

    1. Introduction

    Biotechnology in fisheries and aquaculture represents a range of technologies that present opportunities to increase growth rate in farmed species, to improve nutrition of feeds for aquaculture, to improve fish health, to help restore and protect environments, to extend the range of aquatic species and to improve management and conservation of wild stocks. In this e-mail conference, the focus will be on genetic biotechnologies, with a brief treatment of related reproductive and gene banking technologies, and the appropriateness of their application in the fishery sector in developing countries. It is important to note that developing countries produce more fishery products from aquaculture, inland capture fisheries and marine capture fisheries than developed countries. The coverage of the biotechnologies here is not comprehensive, but should be enough to stimulate discussion in the conference.

    The vast majority of aquatic genetic resources are found in wild populations of fishes, invertebrates and aquatic plants. Fishstat, the FAO database on fishery statistics, lists 1,235 taxa of common aquatic species that are harvested by humans in major fisheries; thousands more species are taken by small-scale fishers. It also contains information on 440 species that are farmed, but just 20 of these taxa account for approximately 80% of world aquaculture production. Domestication of aquatic species has not proceeded to the same level as it has in the crop and livestock sectors. Genetic biotechnologies must be used both to assist in the further domestication of aquatic species and to help manage and conserve the genetic resources found in wild populations.

    Read the full background document: How appropriate are currently available biotechnologies for the fishery sector in developing countries ?

    Read the Long Summary Document of this conference.



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© FAO, 2000