Mario Pedini
Senior Development Adviser (Aquaculture)
Fishery Resources Division


Meeting of GESAMP Working Group 31 on Aquaculture and Coastal Management

The GESAMP Working Group 31 on Environmental Impacts of Coastal Aquaculture held its Third Session during 1-5 December 1997, in Bangkok, to review concepts and experiences related to the integration of aquaculture into coastal area management schemes. The Working Group addressed a wide range of issues pertinent to coastal aquaculture development, coastal management, as well as experiences and concepts related to efforts of integration. It decided to synthesise its findings and conclusions to provide guidance to readers on available technical information, and on options for initiating or strengthening actions for planning and managing coastal aquaculture development in relation to existing or possible coastal management efforts. The WG's draft study report will be presented to the 28th Session of GESAMP (Geneva, 20-24 April 1998), for discussion and approval for publication in the series of GESAMP Reports and Studies.

First Session of the Committee on Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries (AIFIC) of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC)

This session, which was originally scheduled for November 1997, was postponed to mid 1998 due to the lack of quorum. The invitation to the countries has been dispatched with the indication that the rescheduled meeting would take place from 13 to 16 July 1998. The provisional agenda of this first session of the AIFIC includes: reviews of the status of inland fisheries and aquaculture in Asia and the Pacific, based on a synthesis of national reports; fisheries in food security in Asia and the Pacific (policy issues and policy measures); rural aquaculture, starting with focus on a proposed framework for country reviews; intra-regional cooperation; the future role and activities of

the AIFIC for which the countries are requested to take into consideration FAO's on-going efforts to (i) formulate technical guidelines for the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible fisheries, (ii) implement the Special Programme for Food Security, (iii) develop or facilitate the elaboration of information systems to support development and management of the sub-sectors, and (iv) to facilitate follow-up on identified aquaculture development research priorities.

FAO/NACA Workshop on Aquaculture Information Systems In Asia

A three days workshop will take place at the NACA headquarters in Bangkok from 11 to 14 May 1998 to initiate discussion on the possibility of establishing an Asian Aquaculture Information System. The meeting, to which a selected group of representatives of Asian countries and regional and sub-regional agencies will be invited, will:

- review the result of a survey of existing data bases and aquaculture information systems conducted by the FAO in major aquaculture producing countries in Asia,

- discuss the perceived needs of the participating countries and agencies for aquaculture information systems,

- present the aquaculture information systems which the FAO is implementing in the Mediterranean under the aegis of the Committee on Aquaculture of the General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean, and

- discuss an action plan for follow-up work and for collaboration with other agencies of the region for the implementation of the action plan.


The meeting will be jointly sponsored by the FAO and NACA, which has repeatedly indicated interest in the development of aquaculture information systems.

Second Meeting of the IOFC Gulfs Committee Ad-Hoc Working Group on Aquaculture

The second session of the Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission/Gulfs Committee Ad Hoc Working Group on Aquaculture is being convened in Kuwait from 18 to 21 May at the premises of the Mariculture and Fisheries Department of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. The provisional agenda of this meeting, which follows a previous session in Cairo, Egypt, in October 1996, includes the following points: (a) the establishment of an aquaculture information system, including a follow up work plan and schedule, (b) confirmation of the research priorities identified in the First Meeting and identification of related intersessional activities, and (c) reports/technical papers on advances in aquaculture research and development, including progress in the application of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

Strategy for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research (SIFAR), Support Unit

Following previous recommendations of the Fishery Development Donor Consultation, a new Support Unit for the Strategy for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research (known previously as SIFR - Strategy for International Fisheries Research) has now been set up alongside the Fisheries Department at FAO, Rome.

The role of the SIFAR Support Unit is to facilitate the identification and funding of research proposals from national institutions and other responsible bodies in member countries. Although not in itself a funding source, the SIFAR Support Unit will nevertheless provide the necessary linkage between donors and recipient organizations. This should ensure that proposals are developed in a manner that meets respective technical and policy requirements, and are presented in formats considered appropriate for donor funding.

Although the Unit will be working primarily in collaboration with all of the Fisheries Department's technical services, it is attached administratively to the International Institutions and Liaison Service, Fishery Policy and Planning Division. Furthermore, in order to reinforce its cross-sectoral role, the Unit will develop strategic linkages with other FAO Departments and the various Regional and Sub-Regional offices.

The Unit became operational on 1 March 1998 with the arrival at FAO of Mr. Tim Bostock who takes up a new appointment as Deputy Executive Secretary, and will be acting as Executive Secretary until this post is filled, possibly later on this year. With funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), he will be working with the Unit on secondment from the UK's Natural Resources Institute (NRI). Mr. Bostock has extensive practical and managerial experience in the field of fisheries research and development. Having spent 13 years working overseas with several DFID-funded fisheries initiatives in Latin America and south Asia (Bay of Bengal Programme), he has more recently been undertaking a variety of short-term consultancy activities in Africa with NRI, as well as a long-term assignment as Co-ordinator of an EU-funded fisheries project in Mozambique. Since 1995, he has held the post of UK Co-ordinator for the UNDP/GEF Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project.

The task now begins of transferring to FAO the existing background knowledge and experience from the previous SIFR Secretariat based in IDRC, Ottawa, Canada. The Unit is financed by contributions from a range of bilateral and multi-lateral donors. Contributions are also received in kind.

For further information, please contact:
Mr Tim Bostock
Deputy Executive Secretary
SIFAR Support Unit
Fisheries Department, Room C646/7
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, ITALY

Telephone: (06) 5705 4606 (SIFAR Unit)
(06) 5705 5959 (Tim Bostock, direct)
E-mail: (direct)

Evaluation of Project CUB/91/005 "Development of Intensive Shrimp Culture in Cuba"

In 1997, UNDP requested FAO to organize a mission to evaluate the results of the above mentioned project. The mission was carried out in September 1997 by an international Consultant, Mr. C. Berger and a national expert, Mr. Alfredo de la Cruz. This project was a follow-up of CUB/86/004, implemented by FAO, for the improvement of culture techniques of the local species Penaeus schmitti and development of the shrimp culture subsector. By the end of this project, in


1990, Cuba had developed a total of 2 000 ha of shrimp ponds and produced 1 200 mt. Shrimp postlarvae were produced in hatcheries which had an installed capacity of 570 million PLs. The objectives of the CUB/91/005 were: to increase production through intensification to an average of 3 mt/ha/year in two to three cycles; to automate management controls to improve all phases of the cycle; and to develop appropriate diets for the various culture stages. The project should have resulted in a production of 5 200 mt at the end of the project, in 1995.

The project was nationally executed, and implemented through the Empresa Nacional de Camaronicultura (ENC) and later through the Asociación para el Cultivo del Camarón (CULTICAM). The area of the project was the southern part of the island in the provinces of Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, Camagüey, Las Tunas and Granma. The project started in April 1993 and concluded in July 1997. It suffered during its implementation from the drastic changes which took place in the Cuban economy, in what has been called locally the "special period", resulting in reduced investment in the subsector. As a result of these changes, the project management revised the production strategy to adapt it to the new situation, in general adopting methods requiring less inputs. The main activities carried out concern experiments on intensification and diet formulation; as well as training of technicians; development of infrastructure and purchase of equipment for grow-out facilities and hatcheries; and informatization of the production process.

Project evaluation was generally positive, although not all the expected results were achieved. The country has benefited from the training imparted through the project and from the availability of equipment for production. Management of the project was considered to be of good standard. The output in terms of expected production was not achieved, but the mission was of the opinion that production targets were excessively optimistic, as they did not take into account the financial viability of proposed models. As a result of the activities of this development project, Cuba has acquired a better understanding of shrimp culture in terms of sustainability and financial viability. The mission recommended to UNDP that, for future similar projects in areas where there is limited experience, prefeasibility and feasibility analysis be implemented, inorder to identify viable production scenarios. In the case of Cuba, this would mean to consider more semi-intensive practices, to promote growth of natural food in the ponds, as well as different feeding strategies and

changes in the harvest strategies. The mission also recommended the use of external assistance when new technologies were to be introduced.

Assistance for Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals

A new regional TCP project TCP/RAS/6714 of two years duration has been approved for the Asian region to assist in the area of movement of live aquatic animals. The project, which is to be implement through the Network of Aquaculture Centres for Asia-Pacific (NACA), has already started operating. Disease outbreaks are becoming increasingly recognized as a significant constraint to aquaculture production. In 1990 the losses in developing countries of the Asian region were estimated at no less than US $ 1 400 million, and in 1993 in China alone the losses in shrimp farms amounted to about US $ 1 000 million. Recent estimates based on farms surveys in 16 Asian countries suggest losses in the order of US $ 3 000 million. Movements of live aquatic organism are considered to be an important factor in the spread of diseases in Asia. This has prompted the Asian countries to request assistance to improve regulatory and technical measures (as recommended in Article 9, on Aquaculture Development, of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries).

The Immediate Objective of this new project is to develop national and Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Animal Quarantine and Health Certification for the safe and responsible transboundary movement of live aquatic animals. The expected results of the project are: the development of national technical guidelines on quarantine and health certification for 19 countries; formally agreed and standardized Asia Regional technical guidelines on quarantine and health certification of live aquatic animals; and improved capacity of national aquatic animal quarantine and health certification authorities in 19 Asian countries to exchange information on aquatic animal pathogens, disease outbreaks epizootics, standardized diagnostic procedures, and control and preventive measures. The project workplan is divided in six phases, the first one from December 1997 to January 1998 for the establishment of an Information Base, the second phase (February 1998) dealing with provision of training and establishment of information collection procedures, the third phase (March to April 1998) for the installation of computer facilities and start of the data/information collection. The fourth and key phase (till June 1999) will include the analysis of information collected and the drafting of the technical guidelines. The guidelines


will be revised in the fifth phase (July to August 1999), while the sixth phase (September 1999) will be devoted to the adoption of the technical guidelines.

FAO will provide international experts and consultants on computer networking and data base development, aquatic animal health information systems and epidemiology, and aquatic animal health certification and quarantine. In addition, personnel of the FAO Fisheries Department will be directly involved in the implementation and backstopping of the project. The FAO will assist with equipment (computers) and with liking the new network to the Internet. Funds will also be provided for regional and national (China and India) training. The project also receives some technical and financial assistance from a number of national, regional and international institutions and agencies such as Office International des Epizooties (OIE), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the Governments of Japan and Australia.

NACA will contribute to the project by assuming all administrative, planning and implementation responsibilities, providing physical facilities and secretarial services, and will assume responsibilities for maintaining the Internet links once the project is concluded. NACA will also be responsible for the preparation and distribution of publications.

Third Technical Coordination Meeting of the South Pacific Aquaculture Development Project (Phase II), GCP/RAS/116/JPN

The Third Technical Coordination Meeting (TCM) of the SPDAP II took place from 20 to 22 November 1997, in Nadi, Fiji with participation of delegations from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. The meeting was also attended by ICLARM, the Canada-South Pacific Ocean Development Programme II, South Pacific Project Facility, University of South Pacific, Tonga/ JICA project, Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation of Japan, the donor agency: the Fisheries Agency of Japan, representative of the FAO RAP office in Bangkok and resource persons.

This project had started operations in April 1994 and is scheduled to terminate in mid 1999. It is assisting 15 island nations of the South Pacific in their effort to develop sustainable aquaculture as a contribution to their food security. The main purpose of the TCM was to review the progress of the project and to formulate the work plan for 1998/99.

The activities carried out since August 1996 on a species basis were:

Tilapia culture: assistance to restocking programme in Samoa; taste test in Samoa and Nauru; assistance to development of commercial culture and marketing information in Fiji; organization of workshop/training in Fiji and organization of a study tour.

Milkfish farming: training and demonstration in Tuvalu and Nauru; assessment of milkfish as bait for tuna fishing in Fiji; organization of workshops/training in Tuvalu and Fiji; organization of study tours and distribution of information materials to all countries.

Freshwater prawn culture: the project supplied postlarvae to Fiji.

Seaweed farming: assistance to Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati in marketing surveys; collaboration with the University of South Pacific on the culture of sea grapes and red algae; brown algae stock survey in Tonga; organization of a workshop/training on seaweed farming in Kiribati and on seaweed handling in Tonga; and distribution of information materials to the member countries.

Mollusc culture: exploring possibilities for joint ventures on Mabe pearl farming in Tonga and Palau; site selection for green snail culture in Samoa; marketing studies on giant clam meat; surveys and restocking of trochus in Niue, Cook Islands, and Kiribati; study tours and training on green snail restocking; a regional training course (jointly with JICA) on green snail seed production and stock enhancement; pearl farming and distribution of information material on giant clam culture and on pearl production.

In addition, the project obtained CITES clearance for Solomon Islands and Tonga; organized and held a workshop on Marketing of Aquaculture Commodities; assisted Fiji in the relocation of the freshwater aquaculture center; and collaborated with ICLARM and SPC in setting up a self supporting mechanism for the development of aquaculture in the region.

The proposed plan of work for the remaining period of the project was drawn according to the seven project objectives, with special emphasis on the specific needs and current status of aquaculture development in the 15 member countries of the project.