Aquaculture development. 6. Use of wild fishery resources for capture-based aquaculture.
FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No. 5, Suppl. 6. Rome, FAO. 2011. 81 pp.
The aquaculture of commercially valuable fish and invertebrate species is growing rapidly worldwide and has become a critically important additional means of production of freshwater and seafood at a time when many natural populations are declining in the wild. Capture-based aquaculture (CBA) is defined as the practice of collecting live material from the wild and its use under aquaculture conditions. It makes a significant contribution to aquatic production and livelihood generation. It encompasses a range of activities, from the capture of larvae, juveniles and subadults of desirable fish and invertebrate species as seed material for grow-out in captive conditions, to the taking of adults as broodstock and the use of wild-caught fishes and invertebrates for feed. Because CBA combines culture activities with exploitation of natural resources, there is potential for competition and conflict among fishing sectors that target different life history phases of target species and for impacts on the environment through overfishing or habitat damage. There are very few species produced by aquaculture that have little, or no, dependence on wild populations of target and non-target species. This means that the aquaculture of many species is still reliant on the sourcing of organisms from natural populations for some part of the operation, or with impacts to the wild fisheries in some manner as a result of that activity. The management and conduct of operations that have these effects, therefore, need to take account of both fishery and aquaculture considerations and good practices.
Until recently, CBA attracted little attention as an activity distinct from hatchery-based aquaculture (HBA) for monitoring and management consideration and indeed it has typically been treated in the same way as HBA. However, while the use of wild-caught resources for feed in aquaculture facilities is similar for both CBA and HBA, the heavy dependence of CBA on wild resources for seed and its implications for wild populations have been increasingly recognized in the last decade.
The long-term goal of most forms of aquaculture is eventually to transition from CBA to fully HBA; however, there is a range of biological, socio-economic and practical reasons why this is unlikely to occur for many species, or in some cases, where this may even be undesirable or unnecessary. It must be recognized that CBA is an important and essential part of the aquaculture industry, but to ensure that its contributions lead to long-term societal and environmental benefits it must be operated sustainably and according to the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and within the framework of an ecosystem approach to management. Recognizing that CBA will continue to provide important or essential inputs to aquaculture operations and that it is the starting point for the aquaculture of any species has led to the development of these technical guidelines for the responsible management and conduct of this activity.
Specifically, these guidelines address the actual and potential impacts of wild-seed harvest on target and non-target (bycatch), including threatened species, biodiversity and on the environment and marine ecosystem. The guidelines also consider capture and post-collection practices, grow-out, feed and broodstock, social and economic factors, and governance considerations. These technical guidelines identify CBA principles and guidelines for good practices and provide numerous illustrative case studies from a diverse range of species and fisheries.