The contribution of inland fisheries to the livelihoods and food security of the peoples of Asia has long been achnowledged. Inland fisheries are one of the last open access natural resources and provide both income and food to some of the poorest rural inhabitants of the region. In Asia, inland fisheries are mostly rural, artisanal activities catering to rural populations and providing an affordable source of animal protein, employment and household income.
In more recent years, Asian inland fisheries have been seen to decline as environmental degradation, increasing fishing and population place pressure on these resources. This review looks at the resources and practices of management and enhancement of some key inland fisheries and how these resources can be enhanced to continue to provide food and income. Stock enhancement is an integral component of many inland fisheries. Indeed, new avenues of production such as culture-based fisheries are being increasingly adopted and are seen as a way forward in most countries. Inland fishery activities also have a distinct advantage in that their development is usually less resource intensive than is conventional aquaculture.
This review provides suggestions and recommendations on what needs to be done to improve current enhancement practices and the institutional and practical issues that relate to this. The effect of enhancement on wild fish stocks and the implications for hatchery management of stocks and stocking strategies are also covered.
Attention is now returning to inland fisheries as we increasingly appreciate their often hidden values to rural livelihoods. This review contributes to a better understanding of what needs and can be done and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for further work on the enhancement of inland fisheries.
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific