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Discussion on Actions Needed to Address the Issues

The Workshop was informed that several countries in the region are currently instituting some actions aimed at addressing some of the issues of low value/trash fish. Considering that there will be increasing in demand of fish in response to the growing human population, overarching policy for sustainable utilization of fishery resources and development of aquaculture taking into consideration of balancing of social, economic and environmental implications.

In order to achieve this, efforts to put in place effective management framework for fisheries should be exerted in long-term so as to ensure that fisheries will continue to provide stable supply of fish as a main animal protein source for human consumption. Priority should be given to reducing capacity of destructive fisheries (trawl) and reducing volume of small-sized fish in the catch.

Fisheries related interventions

While noting that the above long-term goal can not be achieved over night, the following are identified as actions/strategies in short and medium terms:

1. Need to develop better understanding of status and utilization of low value/trash fish through statistics, data/information gathering and research so as to provide a solid foundation for tailoring planning and management of fisheries.

2. Addressing the issues of low value/trash fish should be made in the broader framework of fisheries management focusing primarily at management of fishing capacity. This includes application of co-management (including rights-based fisheries), participatory decision-making, roles of fisheries subsidies, etc. Management measures such as gear restriction (trawls and push nets), seasonal and areas closures (including refugia) should be implemented.

3. Development and promotion of fishing methods that could reduce amount of juveniles of commercially important species from the total catch. Fisheries management measures such as refugia and closed areas are most likely to be effective if they are targeted at the nursery areas of juveniles.

4. While continuing to develop and support better fish handling techniques, there is a need for incentives for better handling of catch. These incentives can be different for small and large scale fisheries.

5. Under the broad context of reducing low value/trash fish in total catch, there is a need to maximize utilization of low value/trash fish for human consumption through appropriate processing technology rather than to be used as source for fish meal.

6. As a cross-cutting action/strategy, regional cooperation on the above actions/strategies as well as awareness building on status and utilization of low value/trash fish in the context of sustainable fisheries should be promoted to major stakeholders including decision-makers (within and outside fisheries sectors), fishers and consumers.

Actions/Strategies to address the identified issues within the aquaculture context

Actions that could be taken at the national level were identified as:

7. Improved feeding practices at farm level

8. Improved feed research and development

9. Policy and legislative action to promote better practice

Role of international organizations and regional fisheries bodies

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