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Preparation of this document

The present guidelines have been prepared by the Fisheries Department, with the collaboration of the Legal Office of FAO, on the basis of comments and suggestions received on the draft guidelines for responsible aquaculture development, which were provided for information to the Technical Consultation on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing, Rome, 26 September - 5 October 1994. In finalizing this document, due consideration was given to additional comments and suggestions received and to related expert views voiced at major international meetings and/or publications. The document has been prepared under the coordination of R.L. Welcomme and U. Barg of the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, and includes additional experiences gained from other staff's work related to recent trends and developments associated with the aquaculture sector. M. Lizárraga, A. van Houtte, C. Lería, W. Edeson, K. Rana, R. Grainger, A. Bonzon, D. Gréboval, E. Ruckes, C. Lima Dos Santos, J. Kapetsky, H. Naeve, Z. Shehadeh, D. Bartley, R. Subasinghe, A.Tacon and F. Henderson assisted and contributed to this effort in various ways.

It has to be stressed that these guidelines have no formal legal status. They are intended to provide general advice in support of the implementation of Article 9 - Aquaculture Development - of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The document provides the reader with general annotations to the provisions of Article 9 which are meant to serve only as general guidance, and should be taken as suggestions or observations for consideration when addressing issues related to the implementation of the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Furthermore, any eventual differences in the terminology employed should not be understood as intending reinterpretation of the Code. It should also be remembered that since the guidelines are intended to be flexible and capable of evolving as circumstances change, or as new information becomes available, these guidelines may be further revised and complemented by other guidelines, notes, etc. on specific issues, and some of them are already under elaboration as indicated in the text of this document. In this regard, readers are invited to collaborate with FAO providing any information on relevant technical, policy or legal issues which might be useful in updating, evaluating and improving this document as well as in developing more specific guidance documentation aiming at the promotion of responsible development of aquaculture in order to contribute to sustainable food supply.


All FAO Members and Associate Members
Interested Nations and International Organizations
FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Fisheries Officers in FAO Regional Offices
Interested Non-Governmental Organizations

FAO Fisheries Department.
Aquaculture development.
FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No. 5. Rome, FAO. 1997. 40p.


Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production systems in the world, with the bulk of its output currently being produced within developing countries, and with expectations for aquaculture to continue its contributions to food security and poverty alleviation. The vast majority of aquaculture practices around the world have been pursued with significant nutritional and social benefits, and generally with little or no environmental costs. However, it is essential for current efforts aiming at the future success of aquaculture in both developing and developed countries, that potential social and environmental problems are duly addressed in order to ensure that aquaculture develops sustainably.

This document provides annotations to the Principles of Article 9 of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. These annotations are meant to serve as general guidance, and should be taken as suggestions or observations intended to assist those interested in identifying their own criteria and options for actions, as well as partners for collaboration, in support of sustainable aquaculture development.

Given the diversity in aquaculture and the sometimes different perceptions of "sustainability", more balanced and informed approaches are required to address developmental and environmental issues at any given location. Commitment for collaboration, constructive dialogues among responsible partners, and participation of aquafarmers and their communities are important when assigning responsibilities for sustainable development of aquaculture.

Providing an enabling environment for sustainable development in aquaculture is the responsibility of people in governments and their institutions, social and natural scientists, media, financial institutions, special interest groups, including social and private sector associations, as well as of aquaculture producers, manufacturers and suppliers of inputs, processors and traders of aquaculture products. Commitment to understanding, fairness and responsible attitudes in consultations and negotiations between countries or regions will also help sustainable aquaculture development.

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