49. The Sub-Committee reiterated that globally, aquaculture is a fast growing activity. It is practised with complex interactions between natural, social, economic and policy environments. Development of this sector requires integrated efforts to harmonize public and private sector needs and to preserve inter-generational rights. In doing so, future development plans must recognize the considerable differences that exist in geographical, cultural, social, economic and technical dimensions and pay particular emphasis to the potential contribution that aquaculture can make to food security and poverty alleviation while considering the role of women in this sector.
50. The Sub-Committee recognized the important role that aquaculture could play in improving livelihoods, generating income, and stimulating national and regional development. The Sub-Committee also recognized the current inadequacy of Regular Programme funds to carry out successfully the activities recommended during this Session. In the light of the above, the Sub-Committee recommended that the FAO Fisheries Department reviews its Medium-Term Plan (MTP) for its compatibility with the recommendations made during this Session, and develop new programme entities with budget requests, as appropriate, to accommodate these un-funded needs, and submit to the next COFI Session. These funds should be sought either from the Regular Programme budget or from extra-budgetary sources. The Sub-Committee requested the FAO Fisheries Department to make a report on its efforts in this regard, and present this to the next Session of the Sub-Committee.
51. As a result of its deliberation and taking into account the above considerations (paragraphs 49 and 50), the Sub-Committee identified the following as key priority areas for future work:
i. Creating an enabling environment for the promotion of sustainable aquaculture development and management. This would include among others the development of guidelines for the elaboration of transparent and non-discriminatory certification procedures, risk assessment studies, establishment of harmonized aquaculture quality standards, consumer health, economic viability, undertaking comparative analyses on the environmental cost of aquatic food production in relation to other terrestrial food production sectors, increasing the involvement of the private sector and producers in the decision-making process and the creation of a data bank of national Codes and other useful material produced by other organizations.
ii. Establishing a framework for sustainable rural aquaculture development. In view of the important contribution of rural aquaculture to food security and the improvement of sustainable livelihoods, emphasis should be placed, among others, on developing guidelines and strategies for sustainable rural aquaculture development. These should include awareness raising, success stories, effective extension services, fishery and environmental conservation, availability and quality of seed and feed, exchange of experiences, risk assessment studies, establishment of harmonized aquaculture quality standards and socio-economic impacts, including the role of women.
iii. Education, information sharing and capacity-building. This is a cross-cutting theme which is relevant to most aspects of aquaculture development and management. Special emphasis should be given to south-south collaboration and networking at sub-regional, regional and bilateral levels for information exchange and technology transfer.
iv. Data collection and reporting to improve knowledge and management of the sector. This would include education and training (data collection, analysis, storage, management and dissemination) as well as the establishment of unified standards and guidelines for data collection and clearer definitions of the terminologies used in the sector.