November 15-16 2005
Beijing, P.R. China
Arun Padiyar, NACA
This workshop, jointly organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, China, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome and the Network of Aquaculture Centers in the Asia-Pacific (NACA), Bangkok, was an attempt by the Shrimp Farming and the Environment Consortium (http://www.enaca.org/shrimp), in partnership with the Chinese Fisheries Society, to continue work towards the implementation of "better management practices (BMPs)" globally in shrimp farming. The overall theme of the workshop is "healthy, safe and environmentally sound shrimp farming". The main objectives were:
to share experiences in the management of shrimp aquaculture, with special reference to quality, food safety, and environmental factors;
to review global principles for shrimp aquaculture and their application in China; and
to identify follow up collaboration between China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region that support healthy, safe and environmentally sound shrimp farming.
Mr Liu Zheng, Deputy Director of Chinas Fishery Administration, during the opening day, stated that China will actively promote the healthy, safe and environmentally-friendly shrimp farming methods to ensure the sustainable development of the sector. He said that shrimp has been a major aquaculture species for more than 20 years and played an important role in Chinas aquatic export. Statistics from the ministry shows that from 1996, the countrys shrimp culture has experienced a recovery after 1993s outbreak of shrimp disease. In 2003, the country produced 780 000 tonnes of farm reared shrimp and exported about 120 000 tonnes of shrimp. Meanwhile, there has been no report of trade dispute related to quality or safety problems so far this year in shrimp export. The European Commission also lifted the export ban on aquatic products from China in October 18 of this year. He admitted that there are still some problems still lagging the sector, citing the unbalanced development between different areas, frequent occurrence of some diseases in some aquaculture farms, and low quality of shrimp post larvae. He noted that the country is now taking measures to strengthen quality control and technical training to ensure a healthy development of shrimp sector.
In this workshop, shrimp aquaculture and food safety experts from FAO, NACA, INFOFISH, China, Thailand, Viet Nam, India and Ecuador shared their experiences on management practices for addressing food safety, quality and environmental issues affecting the shrimp sector.
An important recommendation from the meeting was the request for FAO and NACA to work further on the development of an internationally accepted set of principles for "healthy, safe and environmnetally sound" shrimp farming". China will take an active and leading role in the development of the principles, and to actively promote regional and international cooperation on the development of responsible shrimp farming.
The workshop, attended by over 25 experts including international experts from Viet Nam, Ecuador, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia. It was held with simultaneous interpretation and was conducted in both Chinese and English. Preparatory work by the China Fisheries Society is commendable. Following outcomes were observed:
Preliminary discussions relating to best management principles and the need for better national strategies in addressing methods of production and management of quality and environmental impact were encouraging.
Importantly, this was a first step towards the consensus process of establishing some global principals as to what constitutes best management practice.
The wide diversity of aquaculture systems and context prevents the establishment of "global standards, but there is plenty of scope for agreement on what is acceptable and unacceptable management practice and methods. FAO is well placed to broker this dialogue between stakeholders.
FAO Expert Workshop for the Preparation of Technical Guidelines on Health Management for Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Organisms Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1st to 4th November 2005
The objective of this consultation will be to produce technical guidelines that will assist all countries that are in the process of developing, planning to develop, or revising current aquatic animal health programs, to meet basic international standards for protecting vulnerable aquatic resources and competitive access to national and international seafood markets. The technical guidelines will also assist governments in preparing national aquatic animal health management plans and strategies for protecting their aquatic resources from disease incursions, thus making national aquaculture and harvest fisheries programmes sustainable. These international guidelines will take into account the international trade standards set by the World Trade Organisation under the Agreement on Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitray Measures (SPS Agreement) and scientific standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE - formerly Office International des Épizooties).
The participants will include a limited number of specialists, selected on the basis of their technical competence, experience and knowledge of aquatic animal health management and certification. One or two representatives with terrestrial animal disease control expertise will be included to provide an avenue for exchange of experience between the two animal production sectors (continued on page 24).
|  Rohana P. Subasinghe
Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service
FAO Fisheries Department, Rome e - mail: Rohana.Subasinghe@fao.org