Distinguished Assistant Director-General of Fisheries of the FAO, Mr Ichiro Nomura,
Dear Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Through many years of efforts, the First Session of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture under the Committee on Fisheries of FAO, has grandly opened today in Beijing, China. This indicates that FAO and countries in the World show their confirmation and appreciation of the contribution by aquaculture to world food security. I would like, on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture of China, to express our warm welcome to all the participants, and extend our sincere thanks to the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of FAO for making the arrangements for the First Session of the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture to be held in China.
The aquaculture industry in China has a long history dating back to more than 200 years. Since the reform and opening-up, the Chinese Government has made aquaculture a top priority in fishery development and considerable progress has been achieved. In 2001, the total production of aquaculture in China increased by 20 times compared to that of 1980, with production of aquaculture accounting for 62% of the total fishery production. The number of cultured species has been greatly upgraded with diversified culture methods and improved farming technologies. The growth of aquaculture in China has made an important contribution to the improvement of farmers income, to the enhancement of living standards for urban and peri-urban people, and to the promotion of rural and local economic development.
With the growth of world economy and increase in population, people have looked to the ocean, which accounts for 70% of the surface area of the Earth. Continuously increasing fishing has resulted in the sustained decline of marine fishery resources and has given us a warning for further exploration of the ocean. Rational use of marine living resources and maintaining sustainable development in fishery has become a common issue for countries in the world. Consequently, aquaculture has gained more and more attention by the international community. The Chinese Government has put forward the new policy in a timely manner, calling for principally developing aquaculture, rationally adjusting fishing activities in coastal areas and appropriately developing long-distance fishery. China is a big aquaculture country. We have not only marine fish culture, but also inland fresh-water fish farming. We have noticed in the practice that aquaculture also faces the issue of sustainable development. In order to rationally utilize the water and shoal areas, the Chinese Government has intensified its efforts in the areas of legislation and management and further regulated the management standard on aquaculture. The newly revised Law on Fishery of the Peoples Republic of China stipulates in particular that the country conducts unified regulation on water areas and rationally sets the density of fish culture in accordance with carrying and farming capacities of the environment, so as to promote a healthy development of aquaculture. At present, we are actively carrying out and improving the aquaculture management system, with the aquaculture permit as the core element, while strengthening the efforts on comprehensive management on aquaculture environment, seeds, feed, fish drug and quality of aquatic products. However, our country still has much to improve in terms of farming technology and equipments. It is our hope that all the participants will bring advanced farming technology and good management experience to China, so that we can make new contributions to the extension of good aquaculture patterns and the enhancement of the overall level of aquaculture.
Spring is pleasant, and Beijing is a beautiful place. The 2008 Olympic Games will be held in this city. It is our hope that all of you can go outside the conference facilities and see as many places as you can and enjoy the beautiful sceneries of China and the warm hospitality of the Chinese people.
Finally, I wish the conference a complete success.