GESAMP(IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/WMO/WHO/IAEA/UN/UNEP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). 1997. Towards safe and effective use of chemicals on coastal aquaculture. Rep. Stud. GESAMP, (65): 40p.

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview on chemical use in coastal aquaculture globally and the potential environmental and health implications with the objective of promoting: (i) protection of coastal environments; (ii) protection of human health; and (iii) sustainability of the aquaculture sector.

Chemicals used within the aquaculture industry are identified and, for each chemical, a brief summary of information provided, when available, on its intended purpose, scale of application, the aquaculture sectors and geographic locations of principal use and potential impacts on the environment and human health. Environmental issues arising from the properties of aquacultural chemicals are discussed.

The use of chemicals in aquaculture, if carried out properly, can be regarded as wholly beneficial with no attendant adverse environmental effects or increased risks to the health of aquaculture workers. Concern appears warranted, however, regarding the over-use and misuse of certain chemicals for which proper risk assessments with respect to the marine environment have not been conducted. A further legitimate concern and a barrier to conducting an exhaustive review of these practices is the lack of availability of quantitative data on contemporary chemical use in the aquaculture industry.

Governmental authorities, the scientific community and the aquacultural and pharmaceutical industries all have important roles to play to ensure that chemical use is consistent with protection of environmental quality and human health. In particular, mechanisms need to be put in place and enforced for the registration and control of aquacultural chemicals to protect the environment and human health and to ensure the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry.

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Staff contributions

to external publications,

meetings, etc.


Tacon, A.G.J. 1997. Global trends in aquaculture and aquafeed production. International Aquafeed Directory and Buyers' Guide 1997-8, Turret Rai Group PLC, Rickmansworth, UK.

Tacon, A.G.J. and U.C. Barg, 1997. Major challenges to feed development for marine and diadromous finfish and crustacean species. In: Tropical Mariculture (S.S. De Silva, Editor), Academic Press, UK.

Tacon, A.G.J. and K. Rana. 1997. Future developments in intensive and semi-intensive aquaculture in Asia, with particular reference to the Far East. Paper presented at `International Fishmeal & Oil Manufacturers Association' (IFOMA) annual conference, 29-30 October 1997, Rome, Italy.

Toledo, J., A.G.J. Tacon, and M.C. Garcia . 1997. Acuacultura como opcion en sistemas deficientes en energia fosil. Paper presented at the FAO Expert Consultation `Hacia una agricultura tropical con menos uso de energia fosil', 10-13 November 1997, La Habana, Cuba.

Subasinghe, R., U. Barg, and A.G.J. Tacon. 1997. Health management strategies towards sustainable aquaculture. Paper presented at the `Second International Symposium on Sustainable Aquaculture', 12-15 November, 1997, Oslo, Norway.

Halwart, M. 1997. Integrated management of the Golden Apple Snail in Asia. Paper presented at the First International Workshop on Ecology and Management of the Golden Apple Snail in Rice Production in Asia, 16-19 June 1997. Phitsanulok, Thailand.


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Dr. Robin L. Welcomme, Chief, FAO Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service retires in January, 1998. Prior to joining FAO he was employed in the late 1950's and into the 1960's as Assistant Scientific Officer at the Water Pollution Laboratory and later at the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Research Laboratory in the UK, then Scientific Officer at the East African Freshwater Fisheries

Research Organisation, Jinja (Uganda). From 1964-1967 he was at Makerere College, University of East Africa where he completed a Doctorate on the effects of climatic change on the biology and ecology of certain fishes of the Lake Victoria basin. With FAO he was first a Fisheries Biologist in Benin, West Africa, then at FAO HQ in Rome from 1971, successively a Fishery Resources Officer, Senior Fishery Resources Officer and in 1989, Chief of the Service. As Chief, he was responsible for the overall supervision of inland fisheries and aquaculture programmes with a staff of 11 professionals and 5 other staff. He continued to deal with technical aspects of river fisheries, biodiversity, fisheries enhancements and rehabilitation and species introductions. Additionally, he was Secretary of the European Inland Fisheries

Advisory Commission (EIFAC). Finally, he assisted with the FAO-wide programme on biological diversity. So far he has authored approximately 110 publications including 4 books.

This brief summary of activities and accomplishments, although impressive, fails to capture the substance of his contributions as a fishery scientist of note. Perhaps, the talent that has made him most successful is his ability to identify the issues and problem areas from a global perspective and to synthesise key elements of information to arrive at meaningful solutions.

As Service Chief, his style of management, constructive approach and unfailing support to his staff, both general service and professional, won him the trust and respect of all. He was also equally appreciated by senior management for his dependability and collaborative spirit.

His retirement deprives the Fisheries Department and his staff of an excellent professional, mentor and friend. We can ill afford to lose people like Robin and will continue to seek his advice and assistance in the future. Robin, old boy, you can't get away that easily!

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