Mario Pedini, U. Barg,

M. Martinez, Z. Shehadeh and

H. Naeve


FAO-NACA Workshop of the study: "Survey and Analysis of Aquaculture Development Research Priorities and Capacities in Asia"

The workshop of the study: Survey and Analysis of Aquaculture Development Research Priorities and Capacities in Asia was organized by FAO and NACA and held at the SEAFDEC-NACA headquarters on 21-23 May 1997. The objectives of the study, in which 14 countries and territories in Asia participated, was to assist in maximizing the contribution of research to aquaculture development, promote regional collaboration in aquaculture research, and focus the attention of donors and development agencies on regional research and priorities (see also FAN No. 12, April 1996).

The overall purpose of the workshop was to formulate a regional action plan to address priority aquaculture development research issues. Specifically, it was aimed to: (i) verify and adopt the draft Regional Synthesis of the FAO/NACA Survey and Analysis of Aquaculture Development Research Priorities and Capacities in Asia, which was completed in early 1997, (ii) identify/agree on research themes for regional co-operation and the countries interested in participating in them, (iii) prepare project concept papers for regional activities, and (iv) recommend follow up actions.

The workshop was attended by 10 of the 14 countries/territories which participated in the Survey (Hong Kong, DPR Korea, Malaysia and Nepal were unable to attend), as well as seven regional and international organizations, other than FAO and NACA, and one group from the private sector.

The survey and analytical methodologies and limitations of collected information were described and the findings and conclusions, as reported in the Regional Synthesis of the study, explained by the project consultant, Ms. Yong-Ja Cho. The discussion focused on the constraints to development and research, national aquaculture development priorities, existing research efforts and research capacities and opportunities for regional collaboration. While providing further insight into national aquaculture R&D needs and priorities, the discussion, and summary national presentations which followed, confirmed the main conclusions of the Regional Synthesis.

Over 80% of the 330 on-going aquaculture R&D projects reported by participating countries are concerned with technologies and systems; health and environmental management; production of seed and feed; genetic improvement and species diversification. Few projects (< 3%) are concerned with socio-economic and management aspects. The thrusts of donor-funded projects show similar patterns as the national efforts, with a good majority supporting technology-oriented research.

Institutional issues ranked high among constraints to aquaculture development, alongside bio-technical issues. Although the workshop initially was inclined to address only technical constraints (presumably due to the perception that most institutional constraints were not "researchable", as well as the bio-technical specialization of most participants), it subsequently decided to consider institutional issues and included them in proposed regional co-operative activities.

Main institutional constraints to research included: (i) weak institutional linkages and co-ordination among related national agencies/programmes, (ii) inadequate consultation with planners, implementers and users of research results and (iii) inadequate information for planning. Lack of appropriate methods and mechanisms for information delivery and sharing within the region was also identified as a major constraint at national and regional levels.

Although the themes proposed for regional collaboration were largely approved, the weighting given to the themes was not totally supported by participants. Based on national statements on constraints to research and development, it was concluded in the Regional Synthesis that priority should be given to closing knowledge gaps and building tools and information bases that would help support management decisions. Accordingly, institutional, policy and socio-economic issues were given parity with bio-technical issues. However, participants gave higher priority to bio-technical


issues (57% of recommended regional activities). Nevertheless, the workshop did recommend three out of seven regional activities (43%) with a focus on development and management issues in aquaculture and on information needs.

Themes identified for regional co-operation included: institutional issues, information sharing and dissemination, environmental management, health management, nutrition and feeds/feeding strategies, and seed production/broodstock development for aquaculture and stock enhancement. Although bio-technical themes for regional co-operation were presented in a disciplinary format, it was understood that many of the technical issues were inter-related and research should be based on a systems approach which calls for an interdisciplinary effort.

The workshop noted that aquaculture research had significant potential to contribute to social and economic development goals. This potential has not been realized due to various constraints, many of which were highlighted in the Regional Synthesis and by the workshop. Institutional strengthening and changes in institutional arrangements for aquaculture research may be required to increase impact of research and its contribution to national development. The participants recommended that national priority be given to strengthening research capacity, and that well-targeted external assistance could effectively supplement national efforts to re-orient aquaculture research programmes.

It was also noted that management of aquaculture had become a complex task, involving all levels of government and many disciplines. A

concerted effort is required to build up tools and knowledge bases that will enable the sector to address economic, environmental, legal, social as well as technical issues. There is a need to further emphasize intersectoral, multidisciplinary and precautionary approach to management and development of aquaculture.

Although the need for systems research is becoming more widely accepted, the interdisciplinary research efforts required for this approach have not progressed very far. Bilateral and international assistance to accelerate the transition, through training on the planning and management of interdisciplinary research and pilot project would be very timely at this juncture.

Many issues and constraints revealed by the survey are similar to those pointed out by the SIFR study, suggesting that little progress had been made in addressing management and socio-economic issues relating to aquaculture development since the late 1980s. Much of this was probably due to the lack of an enabling environment at the institutional level, the inherent difficulty of overcoming compartmentalization and vertical management approaches, and the absence of compelling pressures to motivate change.

Regarding mechanisms for regional co-operation, the workshop gave preference to networking based on existing regional mechanisms (e.g. NACA), and suggested that lead centres for networks be identified, as necessary, to complement existing NACA centres.

In considering follow-up action on workshop results, participants

recommended that concept papers for the identified regional activities should be prepared by NACA & FAO and circulated widely with the workshop report. The two organizations should also bring the workshop recommendations to the attention of their regional bodies(FAO)/Governing Council (NACA) for consideration in the elaboration of their programmes of work, and take earliest possible action to develop full proposals to help initiate/fund identified regional activities in a step-wise fashion.


One of the components of the ongoing TCP project "Analysis of Strategic Components of the Colombian Fishery Sector: Formulation of Policies" (see also FAN No. 14, December 1996), is the study of economic and social prospects for the development of fresh water aquaculture in the country. A workshop on this subject was held on 26 - 27 June 1997 as a preparatory activity for the formulation of a national plan for the promotion of aquaculture for the period 1998-2002. Dr. Manuel Martinez-Espinosa, FAO HQ, participated in the meeting as part of the technical backstopping of the project.

Representatives from the Government, universities, co-operatives and private sector attended the workshop and presented background papers for discussion. Each of four small discussion groups dealt with one of the main species or species groups cultured in the country: Colosssoma, trout, tilapia and new potential species. Another group analyzed general issues affecting fresh water aquaculture activities. Key elements of the meeting report to be issued shortly include:


Policies institutions: decentra-lization, new role of the State in the development of rural aquaculture; partnership with universities, private sector, NGOs.

Environment: integrated water-shed management; clear environmental regulations for specific species-production systems, as opposed to one generalized regulation for all species and systems; site selection for ponds.

Technology: More energy-efficient feeding strategies; low quality and high price of locally available industrial feeds; excessive use of drugs; insufficient knowledge methods for the prevention and control of diseases.

Economics: Joint Government-private sector economic and financial feasibility studies for various production models; improvement of credit policies; increasing awareness of the need for competence in managerial aspects of production.

Social aspects: Development of rural aquaculture within the decentralized state scheme and in partnership with universities, private sector, NGOs.

Marketing: Joint Government-private sector study of fish commercialization by zones of the country; creation of cold chains to facilitate marketing; reduction of intermediaries and monopolies.

It was repeatedly pointed our that the country has problems of insecurity. Local disruptions strongly affect aquaculture development as well as other food production activities.

Leaving aside rural aquaculture with its characteristic set of problems, it emerged from the presentations and discussions that, in general, fresh

water fish culture in Colombia is making little use of natural food production in ponds and is not applying any strategy to enhance fish production such as use of organic fertilization and polyculture. A monoculture technology based on the stocking of fingerlings that are fed with expensive commercial feed to be harvested and exported does not seem to be an economically sustainable activity. Fingerling production does not seem to present problems in the case of Colossoma but this is not the case for red tilapia, which is imported at high cost and tends to lose the red color trait after a few generations. In the case of trout, 70% of the ova are still imported to compensate for the low quality of locally produced ova.

It is becoming more obvious with time, in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America, that the exclusive focus of development activities on maximum profit is not always compatible with sustainability, from the economic and environmental points of view. There must be a pond management technology somewhere in between the two more known extremes (i.e. the high energy high cost, high resource use, industrial approach as opposed to the traditional Chinese way) that could meet economic, energy, social and environmental demands. Developing such an approach is the challenge that must be met.


A new TCP project has been approved for Croatia for the rehabilitation and development of fisheries and aquaculture. The project will have a duration of 10 months and includes the services of an aquaculture international investment specialist (2 months) who will be supported by two local experts dealing with marine aquaculture (3 months) and inland

fisheries and aquaculture production systems (3 months). Cultivation of fish and shellfish has a century long tradition on the Adriatic coast. However, intensive fish and shellfish farming started in 1980.

On the basis of current capacity of spawning facilities (5) and fish fry imported from ltaly and France, 20 fish cultivation sites annually produce 1,500 mt of high quality fish, mostly seabass and gilthead seabream. The main shellfish breeding facilities are located in Limski Kanal, the Krka river estuary, and the Mali Ston bay. In over 80 aquaculture sites (mostly family farms), 800-1,000 mt of mussels, and 800-1,000,000 pieces of oysters are produced annually.

The main mussel and oyster cultivation sites as well as the facilities for their processing were located in the area of Mali Ston Bay. These facilities were badly damaged during the recent war. Before the war, the Mali Ston Bay was the most important location for shellfish farming and annual production was about 1,500 - 2,000 mt of mussels, and more than 1,000,000 pieces of oysters.

Inland aquaculture is based, on one hand, on salmonid farming (mostly trouts) in cold water with a production of about 400mt (40% of pre-war production) from 5 farms, and, on other hand, on the activities of twenty large farms producing about 4,200 mt of fish, of which nearly 90% is common carp. The production of carp is reported to have declined by about two thirds between 1983 and 1995 mainly as a consequence of destruction of facilities in the course of recent hostilities.

The objective of this technical assistance is to formulate a policy and related investment strategies for


the immediate rehabilitation of capture fisheries and the aquaculture sector which in the case of aquaculture will also imply a techno-economic assessment. The aquaculture investment expert will analyze available information on both inland and marine aquaculture, with particular reference to private sector capacity in term of research, training, and development, and investments made in production structures; identify for the main cultured species major constraints (physical, environmental, institutional, financial and legal) for the rehabilitation of both the inland and marine aquaculture sub-sectors; evaluate the capacity to adapt to competitive production and marketing conditions, in particular taking into consideration production costs compared to other Mediterranean countries; and prepare with the other international and national consultants, scenarios for sustainable aquaculture development including investment strategies, schemes and projects for each sub-sector. The project will conclude with a national workshop in which the conclusion of the various consultants will be presented and discussed.


A new TCP project has been approved for the elaboration of a ten year development plan for the fisheries sector in Mauritius. The new project has a duration of 8 months and includes also assistance for aquaculture with the inclusion of a specialized consultant who will spend three weeks in the country.

The objective of the assistance is to elaborate a development plan for the fisheries sector with regard to institutional and legal aspects, economic and marketing issues, the artisanal and industrial fisheries, fish

processing, aquaculture, research requirements, training and education, fisheries protection and coastal zone management for the next ten years for Mauritius, Rodrigues and the outer islands.

The Consultant, who will take care of the aquaculture component of the project, will review the status of aquaculture in the country, and assess possibilities for increased production. Aquaculture has been a tradition in Mauritius, a small island of volcanic origin in the South West Indian Ocean with a very large EEZ (1.6 million square kilometres). In particular, the production of Macrobrachium started in the country in the late seventies and accounted in 1995 for a total of 55 mt out of the 176 mt recorded as aquaculture production. Other cultured species of relevance are oysters (18 mt in 1995), tilapias (62 mt in 1995) and carps (some 35 mt in 1995).


A new TCP project has been approved for the Kingdom of Tonga to implement a fisheries sector study. The project has a duration of ten months. The objective of the project is to enable the Government of Tonga to enhance its capability to better manage the fisheries sector and to put in place more appropriate and comprehensive policies and programmes for inshore and offshore fisheries management, and aquaculture.

The project will cover the services of four international consultants: a fisheries specialist/Team Leader (4 m/m), an economist (3 m/m), an institutions specialist (1.5 m/m) and an aquaculture specialist (0.75 m/m); advisory technical services including a legal consultant (1 m/m) and a post harvest specialist (1 m/m); support

personnel and one FAO Headquarters technical backstopping mission. The project will also cover the cost of official travel, equipment, a study tour and a final workshop, and general and direct operating expenses.

The Kingdom of Tonga is a small island developing state (SIDS) in the central South Pacific. It has a land area of 720 square kilometres, an exclusive economic zone of 700,000 square kilometres and a 1986 population of 95,000. Tonga is an economically-disadvantaged country having limited opportunities for land-based development and, as a result, the fisheries sector is critically important both for food security and the generation of national income from fish exports. The Government has given high priority to the fisheries sector as a means of promoting national economic development. In recognition of the current and projected importance of Tonga's fisheries sector, a Ministry of Fisheries was established in 1991 to oversee the management and development of inshore and industrial fisheries and aquaculture.

The consultant aquaculture specialist will be in the country for three weeks. He will: Provide a historical summary of aquaculture develop-ment in the country, including the value of aquaculture to the economy and the scope and value of technical assistance provided to the country; evaluate appropriate research and extension needs for aquaculture; assess the extent to which aquaculture can be developed in the country for domestic and export markets and the amounts of development effort to be channelled into aquaculture relative to other aspects of fisheries development, including an assessment of the national and international constraints; evaluate investment potential for the private sector and outline an appropriate role for the sector in the further development of


aquaculture, taking into consideration previous studies and projects in Tonga and in neighbouring Pacific Island countries; propose an appropriate programme for aquaculture development, for 5 and 10 years' periods, taking into account relevant social, economic and technical considerations, including financial projections for the proposed development; identify potential links to appropriate overseas aquaculture centres, and assess the potential for reef enhancement.


The Success of UNDP/FAO Project VIE/93/001 "Freshwater Fish Culture Extension"

The UNDP/FAO Project VIE/93/001 "Freshwater Fish Culture Extension" has shown very satisfactory results in establishing an aquaculture extension service network in northern Viet Nam, encompassing the Transfer of Technology Center at the Research Institute for Aquaculture No.1 (RIA No.1) in Bacninh Province , 4 Sub-Centers (in Sonla, Bach Tru, Phu Tao and Thanh Hoa Provinces) and 24 Demonstration Farms, in addition to 12 selected   VAC (integrated family farming units) sites representing four different agroclimatic zones of the northern part of the country which are also being used for demonstration purposes. This project is being considered as one of the most successful UNDP/FAO projects in Viet Nam. Not only is the aquaculture extension service network fully operational, but aquaculture techniques and approaches for aquaculture extension have been disseminated to farmers, fish farm managers, extensionists, and aquaculture technicians since beginning of 1995. The Project provided training on

aquaculture to more than 4400 farmers, 120 demonstration farmers, about 1450 extensionists, and specialized technical field personnel, including 60 aquaculture extensionists and 120 aquaculture technicians and fish farm managers. The Project conducted 170 training courses for farmers and 22 courses for extensionists and technicians, as well as 6 field workshops.

A large number of extension materials has been developed, produced and distributed (a total of 46,900 copies), including one manual on aquaculture extension and 15 technical extension bulletins covering a wide range of aquaculture technologies suitable for northern and central Viet Nam.

The Project has succeeded in attracting great interest in aquaculture, and many farmers are either improving their aquaculture methods or learning to apply fish culture practices mainly in ponds and rice fields, and also in cages. The "trickle down" approach to aquaculture extension is being followed, where the demonstration farmers trained by the Project conduct demonstration of the recommended culture technology package and in turn show the results to the neighboring farmers designated as fellow farmers. Extensionists support the farmers by visiting them at regular intervals and encourage them to show their practice and share their experience with their fellow farmers. Major emphasis is thereby given to farmers' participation in aquaculture extension, based on farmer to farmer approaches and exchange of experiences among farmers.

Given the very significant demand for technical know-how and knowledge on aquaculture among many farmers, the aquaculture extension network also established

collaborative associations with local units of organizations like the Vietnamese Women's union, Farmers' Association, Youth Association, VACVINA and Provincial Agriculture Extension Centres (PAEC).

The success of the project is based primarily on the hard work and dedication of the national experts, as well as on the excellent extension skills of the Project's Lead Consultant. It may be considered to further promote such approaches to aquaculture extension, in neighbouring countries and elsewhere.

The project commissioned a study on socio-economic aspects of freshwater aquaculture practices in northern Viet Nam, which analyzed factors leading to the improvement and adoption of aquaculture practices among farmers in rural communities. The Faculty of Agricultural Economics, Hanoi, studied the various types and levels of aquaculture / agriculture integration in different agro-ecological zones of northern Viet Nam, including lowland, midland and highland regions and the northern provinces of central Viet Nam. Based on the socio-economic survey, Chung and co-workers concluded that :

• The most common and efficient model for aquaculture/agriculture integration is livestock- horticulture-fish culture, followed by rice-fish culture ( or VAC farming, the acronym in Vietnamese), then aquaculture-livestock husbandry (primarily pig rearing), and finally aquaculture/horticulture integration;

• VAC farming appears to be the best model of aquaculture/agriculture integration, in terms of on-farm input use, productivity and gross margins;


• VAC farming systems help farmers obtain higher returns, achieve best use of on-farm inputs, lessen their dependence on purchased inputs and sustain patterns of farm resource use;

• Aquaculture plays an important role in these integrated farming systems, in providing farm income, using on-farm inputs, creating employment and reducing risks for the farm household;

• These systems play an important role in food supply, job creation and sustainability of the rural economy. They also provide opportunities and directions for farmers to diversify the traditional rice-based production patterns into more sustainable farming systems that enable them to obtain better quality of life with less environmental damage and health risk.

Several priority areas for technical collaboration and financial assistance for increased fish production through aquaculture and inland fisheries were identified during recent discussions by officials of the Ministry of Fisheries, national experts and FAO/HQ staff. It is suggested that future efforts be focused on technical assistance to Vietnamese experts and institutions in specialized fields such as fish health management, supply of good quality seed, aquafeeds and feeding, environmental management of aquaculture development, and inland fisheries enhancement in reservoirs and lakes.

Additional development projects would be desirable in order to assist the very poor people living in the mountain areas, as well as ethnic minorities. In addition, there are significant problems of migration and resettlement of more than one million people in the highland

provinces of northern Viet Nam.

These people are in urgent need of alternative economic activities. Highest priority is therefore being given to poverty alleviation, food production and job creation in these areas. Aquaculture in ponds and cages as well as fishery practices in reservoirs and lakes, are seen as very suitable and viable opportunities to enhance production of much needed animal protein. These practices also generate significant economic incentives to farmers given the high demand for fish. In addition, the creation of alternative sources of food and income through aquaculture and fishing can help to reduce ongoing deforestation in mountainous areas resulting from unsustainable logging practices by very poor people.

Given the increasing demand for fish, the proven viability of fish production in present integrated aquaculture-agriculture farming systems, and the great acceptance of these methods by the farmers, there appears to be much scope in expanding the activities of the established aquaculture extension network. More support is needed to expand the coverage of this network, with a view to carry out additional extension activities, particularly at the district levels of all target provinces, as well as at the level of communes in mountainous regions.

Towards safe and effective use of chemicals in coastal aquaculture

News from the 27th Session of the IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/WMO/WHO/
IAEA/UN/ UNEP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), Nairobi, 14-18 April 1997

GESAMP, through its Working Group on Environmental Impacts of Coastal Aquaculture, identified over 50 chemicals or chemical classes used in coastal aquaculture. For each chemical or class, it provided brief information on their use, including geographic location of principal use, and the potential for environmental impact and human health.

GESAMP concluded that most aquaculture chemicals can be used safely if proper precautions are taken, and the potential for adverse environmental and or human health effects result from misuse (e.g. excessive dosages, inadequate effluent control). There are, however, a few chemicals that are used in certain industry segments for which there is an inherent substantial risk to the environment or human health. Some governments have already banned use of these substances, and their continued use elsewhere deserve close scrutiny. Efficacious alternatives are urgently needed.

GESAMP provided recommendations on the safe and effective use of chemical compounds in coastal aquaculture. While the overriding consideration should be to minimise use of these chemicals, it is recognized that use of aquacultural chemicals is essential and virtually unavoidable. Regulatory mechanisms need to be put in place (and enforced) for registration and control of the use of aquacultural chemicals in order to protect human health, the natural environment and the sustainability of the industry itself. The study is expected to become available in November 1997 as Reports and Studies, GESAMP No. 65.