In December 1997, FAO convened the Technical Consultation on Policies for Sustainable Shrimp Culture in Bangkok, Thailand. This "Bangkok Consultation" brought together government delegates and observers from 12 countries of Asia and the Americas accounting for about 90 percent of the global production of cultured shrimp and including major consuming countries. Observers from five inter-governmental organizations and from four international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also attended. The Consultation noted that the achievement of sustainable shrimp culture is dependent on effective government policy and regulatory actions, as well as the cooperation of the shrimp farming sector in utilizing sound technology in its planning, development and operations. In this regard, the Consultation recommended that FAO convene expert meetings to elaborate best practices (the Report of the Bangkok FAO Technical Consultation refers to "best practices". The term "Good Management Practice" (GMP) was adopted by FAO for this Expert Consultation) for shrimp culture and desirable elements of the legal and other regulatory instruments for coastal aquaculture.
The Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), in partnership with the World Bank (WB), the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and FAO, is implementing a Consortium Programme on Shrimp Farming and the Environment. Central objectives of the Consortium are to identify better management practices for shrimp farming under various environmental, economic and social conditions and to assess the cost-benefits for farmers to adopt these practices individually and in co-ordination with other farmers. This information is expected to help governments and the private sector develop support strategies and specific assistance measures to aid farmers in overcoming the constraints that currently prevent them from adopting better management practices. These strategies may encompass the adoption of codes of practices, improved extension services, economic incentives and others. The Consortium Programme is undertaken primarily through a series of case studies covering all major regions producing cultured shrimp.
Shrimp farming guidelines and codes of practices have been developed, or are under development, in a number of countries (e.g. Australia, Belize, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand). At the international level, a code has also been elaborated by an industry organization, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), that is intended to provide the basis for a future eco-labelling programme. Guidelines are also under development for the production of organically grown shrimp.
One area of special concern is the management of shrimp disease. FAO has been providing assistance to several member countries on health management in shrimp culture and has taken the lead in conducting the review on management strategies for major diseases in shrimp farming, one of the thematic reviews under the Consortium Programme. In cooperation with several other agencies and organizations, FAO is currently conducting a number of programmes aimed at developing Good Management Practices (GMPs) for shrimp health management in both Asia and the Americas.
The Legal Office of FAO is currently working on a comparative survey of national laws and regulations governing shrimp culture. The purpose of the survey is to examine and compare relevant national legislation, particularly the legal requirements concerning the environmental impacts of shrimp culture and the measures applicable to the development of shrimp farming installations, the continuing operational controls, and the legal requirements that apply upon the cessation of activities, and aspects related to enforcement of the relevant legislation. This information is expected to help identify good legal and institutional arrangements and the current constraints for countries to adopt them.
As a follow up to the recommendations from the Bangkok Consultation and in support of the above activities, an Expert Consultation was convened by FAO and the Government of Australia on 4-7 December 2000. The objectives of the Expert Consultation were to:
The Expert Consultation was expected to produce the following outputs:
The Expert Consultation adopted the following recommendations:
- estimation of the qualitative and quantitative costs and benefits of implementation of GMPs/operating principles. Financial and economic analyses of best compared to worst practices were recommended; the analyses would take into account the applicability of GMPs at different levels from generic to farm levels;
- identification of performance criteria to monitor the effectiveness of operating principles, GMPs and GLIAs, taking into account the need for cost-effective monitoring based on a limited number of key indicators; and
- special attention to identification of GMPs and GLIAs for "retrofitting" of large numbers of existing farms and mobilization of required technical and financial support.
- preparation of a review of farmers’ associations, identifying the factors for success, to provide practical guidance on development and operation of successful farmers’ associations;
- promotion of meetings of farmers’ associations to review and develop GMPs in cooperation with relevant government agencies, where desirable;
- promotion of dialogue and cooperation between farmers’ associations, government organizations, seafood export associations and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of GMPs;
- more effective networking among shrimp farmers’ associations is required, and a regional shrimp farmers’ network may be particularly useful in Asia. The Expert Consultation requested NACA to facilitate a meeting of shrimp farmers’ associations in Asia. The agenda should be driven by the farmers’ associations;
The full report of this consultation is now published as "FAO/Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia. Report of the FAO/Government Australia Expert Consultation on Good Management Practices and Good Legal and Institutional Arrangements for Sustainable Shrimp Culture. Brisbane, Australia, 4-7 December 2000. FAO Fisheries Report. No. 659. Rome, FAO. 2001. 70 p." For a copy, please write to: Rohana.Subasinghe@fao.org
- preparation of a review that will bring together experiences in success and failure in management of farm clusters and nucleus estates. Such a document can provide guidelines on how such nucleus estates might work best;
- preparation of an evaluation of the potential use of the operating principles as basis for investment and buyer screens, providing an incentive for investments in farms operating according to good management practices;
- elaboration of best practices for government–farmer consultation and cooperation at various levels (i.e. central, provincial and local levels) in the development and implementation of GMPs and GLIAs;
- that financial and technical assistance should be directed to support development and implementation of GMPs and GLIAs, with special attention to small-scale farmers and farmers associations; and
- further evaluation of existing Codes of Conduct and implementation plans be carried out to assess their universal application.