1. A Symposium on Water for Sustainable Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture was convened in conjunction with the Twentieth Session of the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC) in Praia do Carvoeiro, Portugal, from 23 to 26 June 1998. The Symposium was convened by Mr R. Müller (Switzerland) and chaired by Mr H. Ackefors (Sweden). The Symposium was attended by 68 participants from 23 countries.
Assessment of quantitative and qualitative characteristics of water resources
2. Ground and surface freshwater resources are finite but demand on them from various sectors and interests in society is increasing. Growing scarcity is therefore leading to competition between the various users including fisheries and is becoming a major issue in Europe and elsewhere. The intensification of use is also leading to greater pressure on water quality through pollution and eutrophication.
3. It was concluded that inland fisheries planners and administrators need to participate pro-actively in fora at all levels concerned with the allocation of water and management of living aquatic resources. Such participation is necessary to:
a) ensure that water is assigned for the maintenance of aquatic ecosystems and living organisms. Such allocation should include criteria for water use, including quantity, quality and timing which should be established on the basis of scientific evidence;
b) ensure that the aquaculture sector is not
penalized by unrealistic requirements for effluent quality. It was recognized that for its
part the aquaculture sector would need to be responsible in its approach to improving the
quality of its discharges;
Water requirements of inland aquaculture systems
4. Aquaculture was established originally in regions where
water resources were readily available but supplies are now becoming a limiting factor in
some areas due to population increase, industrialization, environmental concerns and other
factors. Several fish farms have had to convert from production to nature conservation or
recreational areas. Other intensive fish farms are also having problems in the disposal of
their effluents. Despite these difficulties, the need for fish as healthy food is
increasing, and efforts are being made in many countries to increase the proportion of
fish in the diet. However, given current circumstances, studies and trend analyses
indicate that some conventional aquaculture systems need to evolve and adapt to changing
social, economic and environmental conditions in many European countries.
option for improved efficiency of water use. However a flexible approach is suggested which uses all types of habitat created by existing agronomic practices, the hydrological cycle and the features of the landscape. The principle of integration may also be applied on a wider scale, and more active collaboration among the various water users, planners and administrators is necessary. Collaboration between countries in which water shortage already exists and where such problems are anticipated in the future should also be promoted in order to exchange information and execute joint projects.
Water requirements for inland fisheries
8. Fisheries scientists
have an acceptable level of knowledge on the theoretical water quantity and quality
requirements for fish for many aquatic ecosystems. Increasing pressures on water
resources, coupled with a heightened public demand for truly sustainable development,
means there are now key cross-disciplinary considerations related to the need to manage
the environment as a whole. There is an increasing need for a better understanding of the
different demands placed on the aquatic system and how these demands relate to one
another. There is also a need for improved communication and acceptance of how the
requirements of one user will modify and compromise those of another.
12. It is important that concepts of
social and economic value and use are developed for inland fisheries so that fisheries
interests can be properly represented in the allocation debate. Collaboration with local
stakeholders and with other groups expressing public concern for the environment should be
sought in order to influence planners and politicians.
Water resources issues and conflicts
14. Increasing demand for
aquatic resources by a diverse array of user groups has resulted in environmental
degradation, loss of habitat and conflict between various stakeholder groups. The
mechanisms for assessing the impact of various activities are reasonably well established
but overcoming the problems is still complex. This is because mechanisms for resolving
conflicts within fisheries and between fisheries and other users are only now being
developed. The key problem to be addressed is the promotion of sustainable use of water
resources at an optimal level of exploitation, acceptable to all users whilst maintaining
the potential to meet the needs and expectations of future generations.
recommended that priority be given to developing and promoting economic evaluation of inland fisheries and marketing of its products. There is also the need for robust methods for prioritizing demands for aquatic resources, which balance human requirements against the protection of the environment and biodiversity.
Strategic planning of water resources
17. World food production has to be increased
over the next three decades to satisfy the additional demands of a world population, which
is expected to grow to about eight thousand million by 2025. It is not anticipated that
substantial increases in supply can be obtained from oceanic fisheries. Therefore, any
future growth in fish protein supply will have to come from aquaculture and enhancement of
wild fisheries. In view of the problems of water supply caused by growing demand existing
aquaculture production using conventional methods is likely to be endangered. Those
responsible for the inland fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Europe and elsewhere must
take part in the wider discussions and decisions concerning future water resources
allocation and water quality management.
e) there should be a comparable emphasis on river
and lake rehabilitation and improvement to maintain and enhance valuable recreational, commercial and subsistence fisheries. C
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMENDATIONS
19. The participants at the Symposium on Water for Sustainable Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture proposed the following recommendations for adoption by the Twentieth Session of EIFAC:
a) Authorities and those in charge of fisheries and aquaculture development must seek collaboration with other agencies and other sectors of society in order to improve coordination of resource management.
b) It is vital that governments empower fisheries and aquaculture authorities to promote actively the interests of inland fisheries and aquaculture, as well as adequately participate in resource management decision-making.
c) Authorities in charge of fisheries and aquaculture need enhanced capacity to implement policies and regulations related to management of living and physical aquatic resources. Greater resources must be made available to these authorities. It is realized that in many cases these authorities lack manpower and financial and information resources to be able to participate actively in intersectoral negotiations and policy-making. There is a need for research and development to fill key information gaps.
d) There is a need for management strategies for water resources in general that incorporate the needs of inland fisheries and aquaculture. Those responsible for water allocation should consult with fisheries and aquaculture authorities. Authorities responsible for fisheries, aquaculture and water resource planning should collaborate to formulate appropriate strategies, identify options for their implementation and identify key stakeholders who should participate in this process. These strategies must encompass a range of aspects including social, economic and recreational considerations, biodiversity and the wider aquatic environment.
e) In view of river basin management plans which have to be prepared for a deadline of December 1999 in the EU member states, authorities representing inland fisheries and aquaculture management must identify groups responsible for the production of these plans and ensure that the needs of inland fisheries and aquaculture are adequately represented in the plans.
f) Key government departments must recognize that inland fisheries have economic, social, biological and other values. For inland fisheries and aquaculture to be properly represented in the allocation of resources there is a need for improved economic and social evaluation of fisheries, aquaculture and associated aspects. It is recommended that priority is given to developing and promoting economic and social evaluation of inland fisheries, aquaculture production, fishing communities, fish populations and aquatic environments in general.
The report of the EIFAC Symposium on Water for Sustainable Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture will be published in:
Report of the Twentieth Session of the European Inland Fishery Advisory Commission, Praia do Carvoiero, Portugal, 23 - June - 1 July 1998, as FAO Fisheries Report No. 580 (FIPL/R580), and is available on the Home Page of the FAO Fisheries Department: http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/ FISHERY/body/eifac/1998rep1.htm
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Dr Heiner Naeve, Secretary of EIFAC e.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Mr Uwe Barg, Technical Secretary of the Symposium e.mail: email@example.com