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Paul S.Teng, Deputy Director-General (Research)

Role, potential and needs of aquaculture and aquatic resource management in rural development

The WorldFish Center is one of the 16 international centers of Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). We are the only one that deals with fisheries in the broad sense of the word: living aquatic resources. I will focus [today] on how we see some of the research issues. To the extent possible, the WorldFish Center complements and works with other organizations that are more grassroots oriented.

Key drivers of change

To set the context there is a need for cross-sectoral interaction. As fisheries people we tend to look at the water part of it. I was at a conference earlier this month in Bangkok where they were looking at the role of technology in sustainable aquaculture but unfortunately they left out the water part of it (the fisheries part of it), what lives in the water. The title of that meeting was " More People: Less Land". I needed to remind them that when we look at the drivers of change (the key influences on change these days) they are: more people, less land, less water, less farm labour and less wildlife resources. That is why we care as a research organization, to set the right context for research issues.

Rural Livelihood, Rural Quality of Life (QOL) and Income Per Capita

Again this morning the rural livelihoods model was mentioned. New knowledge, new technologies and improved products work to improve the per capita income, which in turn improves the quality of life and improves rural livelihoods. We see our role as a research organization as a global reach organization focusing on these aspects, recognizing these [new knowledge, new technology, new products] feed upward to income per capita. We are concerned about livelihood issues for fishers and farmers, especially in the rural sector and also for the consumers in the urban sector.

World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)

Again to set the context, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was mentioned [this morning] and many of us are familiar with this recommendation. "Achieve the Millennium Declaration target to halve by the year 2015 the proportion of the world's people who suffer from hunger and realize the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their families, including food, including by promoting food security and fighting hunger in combination with measures which address poverty, consistent with the outcome of the World Food Summit and, for States Parties, with their obligations under article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights."

"Maintain or restore (fisheries) stocks to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield with the aim of achieving these goals for depleted stocks on an urgent basis and where possible not later than 2015.'

These set the challenges we all face as organizations involved in rural development.

Presentation outline

My presentation this morning is focused on the aquaculture sector, aquatic resource management in the broad sense, how we as a research center have responded and saying a few words on what we believe are our key competencies and what we bring to the table as a partner.

Trends in fish production

[The presenter showed a series of colour slides (graphs) including aquaculture production by major country categories and percent contribution of the developing countries to world production (1970-1999), capture fisheries production by major country categories and percent contribution of the developing countries to world production (1970-1999), and trends in fish production by different country categories (1961-1999). The presenter went through the slides very quickly and did not focus on individual slides for any significant length of time. The presenter said the slides were a reference or starting point.

Here are some of the trends in fish production that really underpins all of our discussions. Most of us recognize the contrasting trends: an expanding aquaculture sector in many countries and a stagnant capture fishery sector in many countries and also globally. If we look at the production points by developed country and by developing country we see a tremendous growth in the developing country curve. This is very remarkable. This is all background data that has been used to justify investments.

An interesting trend around 1985 or 1986 was that a stabilizing factor occurred. This is more data but I will go through this very quickly as these are just highlight points. The growth rates in aquaculture have been tracked and studied and we feel it is our responsibility as a global fish center organization to look at these trends using both primary and secondary data. We work very closely with FAO [on the data].

Growing Share of LIFDCs

Aquaculture's growth rate and percentage contribution to total fishery production in Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs in selected Asian countries and Egypt (1990 and 2000)


Total Aquaculture Production



Average Annual growth Rate


192 592

657 121



1 012 121

2 095 072



6 482 402

24 580 671



379 940

387 680



291 719

706 999


Viet Nam

160 076

510 555



499 824

788 500


Sri Lanka

5 500

12 360



61 916

340 093


Source: FAO 2001

One of the strongest arguments we can make about things to come is the example of China. I think few people are aware that most of the fish [in China] that gets to the table is now produced though aquaculture, not through the capture fishery anymore. I think we see that trend occurring in many countries, including Southeast Asia.

Trends in fish production composition and trends in fish consumption


Fish Consumption (kg/person/year)



Percent Increase









Sri Lanka




















Viet Nam








Source: FAO 2001

Significant growth in consumption and trends in fish trade

Implied in these figures are some points referred to earlier [today]. The danger is the cash value of fish (of formerly lower value fish) is now depriving the poor a source of protein.

Technology trends in aquaculture

Looking at more conventional methods we see great improvement with conventional breeding and selection e.g. the fact that you can get on an average of 20 to 25 percent per generation gain just by looking at inherent variability in our stocks right now. Tilapia is a classic example of our breeding efforts and a modern success story. [The presenter showed a slide indicating accumulated selection responses in Nile Tilapia in six generations.]

The message to donors is with conventional technology we are able to produce more fish with less feed and it is implied with less pollution. This is a way to increase the efficiency of fish production with less environmental degradation.

Issues in capture fisheries

For the donor community and the public in general, this part of the story (habitat degradation) has perhaps more resonance with the public than development issues. Pictures of coral reef destruction strike-home more than say pictures of aquaculture development.

Issues in aquaculture

1. Understanding adoption pathways in demand-driven settings

2. How will the needs of a broad spectrum of users, systems, practices and species be met?

3. Knowledge-intensive system and participation of the poor

4. Integrity of coastal aquaculture

Balancing supply and demand for fish as food



Production (supply) from capture fisheries



Production (supply) from aquaculture






Production (supply) used for food



Consumption (demand) for fish as food



The bottom-line for our CG centers (and future harvest centers) are concerned is balancing the equation between the supply of food and the consumption. The best current estimates put the shortfall at 30 metric tonnes. This is important in terms of the call for reduced fishing to rehabilitate capture fisheries stocks. This is a paradigm challenge that must be reconciled through research.

Learnings from the Twentieth-Century and going into the Twenty-First Century

An example of the new baseline is more along the lines of the Mekong Delta with maybe five crops in two years; less than fifteen days turn-around between crops. This is the environment we are working in. We need to recognize the changing baselines.

Cross-cutting issues and problems leading to multi-sectoral, multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary opportunities and solutions which in-turn lead to improved food security, nutrition security, poverty alleviation, improved livelihoods, sustainability and conservation.

These are key drivers for us [WorldFish Center] to come to this meeting because this is a gathering of many people (representing many institutions and sectors) that can jointly look at the issues. We all share the same goals. It is surprising to the read the mission statements of our organizations as one or more words are the same, we all have the same goals.

These are the issues we think are important:

Aquatic resource management Issues that are particular focus for the WorldFish Center

For the WorldFish Center there are some issues, which are of particular focus for us and are key areas for our work. We cannot do everything and we try to complement others. This list is very generic and is available in our medium term plan. If you would like a copy please send me an email; some of it is available on our website as well.

Approach to our research programming is based on three major criteria:

· Partnerships

- Currently in partnership with 259 institutions

· Multi-disciplinarily

- The way we organize ourselves and focus on the major ecosystems

· Research for impact

- We do not do research for research-sake anymore. We do research for development.

Important aquatic resource systems

We have identified eight important aquatic resource systems: coastal waters, including estuaries and lagoon; small water bodies, reservoirs and lakes; floodplains, streams and rivers; soft-bottom shelves; up-welling shelves; open oceans; coral reefs and ponds, but we plan to focus on four:

WorldFish Center program thrusts

1. Conservation of aquatic biodiversity

2. Mitigation of adverse impact of alien species on aquatic biodiversity (new emphasis)

3. Genetic Improvement and Breeding

4. Strategies and options for realizing gains from freshwater aquaculture systems

5. Freshwater fisheries in an integrated land and water management context (new emphasis)

6. Increased and sustained coastal fisheries production (redefined)

7. Restoration and protection of coastal habitats (redefined)

8. Knowledge bases and training for improved management of coastal resources (redefined)

9. Economic, policy and social analysis and valuation of aquatic resources in developing countries

10. Aquatic resources planning and impact assessment

11. Legal and institutional analysis for aquatic resources management

12. Improved partnerships and capacity -building among developing country NARS (redefined)

13. Access to information for sustainable development of fisheries and coastal resources (redefined)

This is directly from our research program for the next few years. Some of them are new and others are redefined. Again, this is in the medium term plan and I am happy to share a copy with you. There are a number of governance issues as you can see. We deal with both marine and inland fisheries.

Core competencies of WorldFish Center

1. Stock assessment of coastal fisheries

2. Methods for developing improved fish strains

3. Socio-economic analysis of the fisheries sector

4. Culture and restocking of coral reef invertebrates

5. Global databases for management of aquatic resources

6. Watershed approach to aquatic resources management

7. Institutional analysis for governance of aquatic resources

8. Development and evaluation of small holder focused aquaculture technologies

What does WorldFish Center bring to the table? We feel that as a Center that has just celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary we have built up a skill set. We have identified eight which we believe we have some special skills in.

We use the global impact model of IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute) to look globally at how to predict much better the role of fish and aquatic resources in the global demand for food. This goes back to something said earlier today about fish being left out of the global discussion on food. We are making a very specific and purposeful move now to include fish in this global model.

Collaboration via formal and informal networks

We collaborate through both formal and informal networks. Examples of networks where we are leaders include: GOFAR; INGA; ICRAN; and NTAFP which is a regional project on increasing and sustaining fisheries and aquaculture in Asia. We are members of NACA networks. We have some we host such as the International Action Coral Reef Network.

Partners in 2002 (by region)








South America


Australia and Oceania




United Stares and Canada


Central America and Caribbean


CGIAR challenge programs: extending the reach to achieve impact

Water and Food Challenge Program:

Endorsed by IsC and CGIAR. Implementation proceeding as the first full-fledged CP

Coastal Zone Challenge Program:

Pre-proposal is 1 of 4 selected for review and further development in the next year

In conclusion I would like to mention a couple of new developments that are quite exciting in terms of partnerships; the CGIAR Challenge Programs. They have been successful in attracting new funding (and I emphasize the word new). These are multi-institutional programs in the true sense of the word. The WorldFish Center is the lead on the Coastal Zone Challenge Program so over the next several months we will be spending quite a lot of time on this. This is off the ground.

CGIAR challenge program on water and food

This is a consortium of NARS, CG centers, international and regional organizations, ARIs and NGOs. Seven basins and five themes have been selected. Three of the basins are in Asia (Yellow River Basin in China, Indo-Gangetic Basin in South Asia and the Mekong Basin). The MRC has agreed to take the lead on Mekong Basin.

The WorldFish Center leading one of five themes - Aquatic Ecosystems and Fisheries. The themes set the research priorities and the basins are to set the development priorities for the basin. It is a matrix approach.

The call for pre-proposals is going on in mid-December 2002 and we are expecting thousands of pre-proposals to be submitted from around the world. There is significant new funding; in fact, the first round of funding committed the first year is between US$40 to US$80 million of new funding for this initiative.

Partnerships and stakeholder involvement

Coastal zone challenge program

The second program being developed is on the coastal zone. This offers us a great deal of potential in this context here. We have been asked to take the lead on this on behalf of the consortium of 22 NARS, ARIs and NGOs; 8 Regional Agencies; and 6 CGIAR Centers. We look at the coastal zone as the interface between the land and the sea in which more than 40 percent of the developing world's population live and work.

Coastal zones: the land-sea interface

Underpinning all I have presented on the research issues, our research agenda, is that harnessing the strengths of all partners to generate knowledge and technologies which reduce poverty, conserve the environment and improve livelihoods is what is needed.

Thank you.

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