First Session

Beijing, China, 18-22 April 2002

Towards Sustainable Aquaculture Development:
Progress in the Implementation of
Aquaculture-related Provisions of the
Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF)

1. Aquaculture1 is one of the fastest growing food-producing sectors in the world. Over the years, many significant changes have occurred during the sector's development. Aspirations for higher production and yields through technological innovation have been tempered with concerns of sustainability. Economically, the drive for higher profits has been qualified by schemes to distribute benefits more equitably. The primary objectives of producing more food, earning higher incomes and improving economies have been expanded to include ensuring food security, alleviating poverty, and promoting social equity and prosperity. Awareness has been raised, and the need for more responsible development and management of the sector has been realized. The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), which was brought to effect in 1995, sets out principles and international standards of behaviour for responsible practices with a view to ensuring the effective conservation, management and development of living aquatic resources, with due respect for the ecosystem and biodiversity. The Code recognizes the nutritional, economic, social, environmental and cultural importance of fisheries, including aquaculture and culture-based fisheries, and the interests of all those concerned with the sector. The Code takes into account the biological characteristics of the resources and their environment and the interests of consumers and other users. The Code recognizes the importance of the collection, sharing and dissemination of data related to aquaculture activities to facilitate cooperation on planing for aquaculture development. States and all those involved in fisheries and aquaculture are being encouraged to apply the Code and give effect to it. Over the years, FAO Member Governments, concerned national, regional and international organizations, and FAO's Fisheries Department have been involved in implementing and/or assisting the implementation of the provisions relevant to aquaculture at both the national and regional levels. This document brings to the attention of the Sub-Committee major issues and challenges of implementing the CCRF provisions on aquaculture, highlighting some successful efforts by the concerned stakeholders, and seeks advice and future directives.
2. Aquaculture contributes to food production, poverty alleviation, rural livelihoods and income generation at local, national, regional and global levels (see COFI:AQ/I/2002/2). Effective national institutional arrangements and capacity, policy, planning and regulatory frameworks in aquaculture and other relevant sectors are essential to support the sustainable development of aquaculture. Improved cooperation among all stakeholders at the national, regional and inter-regional levels is imperative for further development of the sector.
3. The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) provides specific provisions for ensuring sectoral sustainability during the process of development. FAO Member Governments, along with many stakeholders of the sector, have been involved in implementing those provisions, and FAO has also been assisting its Member Governments in implementing the Code.
Scope of the document
4. The scope of this paper is to highlight issues and challenges of sustainable aquaculture development and management, with special reference to the CCRF and to the provisions related to aquaculture and culture-based fisheries, and to the implementation efforts by Member Governments and other organizations which are being monitored and discussed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI). An overview is given on selected implementation activities and on opportunities for enhanced regional and inter-regional collaboration.
Sustainable aquaculture development: issues and challenges
5. The Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium declared that the aquaculture sector should continue to be developed towards its full potential, making a net contribution to global food availability, household food security, economic growth, trade and improved living standards, and that the practice of aquaculture should be pursued as an integral component of development, contributing to sustainable livelihoods for poor sectors of the community, promoting human development and enhancing social well-being. The aquaculture policies and regulations should promote practical and economically viable farming and management practices that are environmentally responsible and socially acceptable.2
6. The 1999 Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries, in its Declaration on the Implementation of the CCRF3, recognized the growing importance of environmentally sound aquaculture as a source of fish supplies for human consumption and attached high priority to ensuring the contribution of sustainable aquaculture to food security, income and rural development.
7. It is generally recognized that there is significant potential for continued expansion and growth of aquaculture. Even in Asia, the full potential for further development has not yet been realized. Discussions during recent COFI Sessions stressed the increasingly important role of inland capture fisheries and aquaculture in fish production and in human nutrition and poverty alleviation in many rural areas, and emphasized enhancement of inland fish production through integrated aquaculture-agriculture farming systems and integrated utilization of small and medium-sized water bodies. Additional opportunities/strategies for further development and increased food production include, for example, intensification of production, diversification of production, rehabilitation of unusable production facilities, improved fisheries enhancement methods and combining on-farm and off-farm activities.
8. However, the aquaculture sector has not been without its problems and critics. In many cases, the sector's contribution to sustainable development has been questioned due to concerns over significant adverse environmental and social impacts caused by some aquaculture operations. Although most of these issues are not unique to the aquaculture sector as a whole, and relate to the development of more environmentally sound and responsible farming practices, it is essential that these issues be addressed and resolved.
9. As recalled on the occasion of the 1999 Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries, the major issues and challenges to aquaculture development that need to be addressed (although these may vary in severity from country to country) can be summarized as follows:4
Weak institutional support and insufficient political recognition
10. At present, many of the decisions over developments affecting fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic environments are often made with little or no consideration of these sectors. Moreover, most fish producers suffer from the absence or inadequacy of defined rights to their specific practices, and institutional support, whether public or private. There is therefore a need to:

Need to enhance efficiency in the utilization of resources
11. The competition between users, including both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, for available resources, including land, energy/fossil fuels, water and nutrient sources, is increasing. There is also a trend within animal production, including the aquaculture sector, towards intensification of farming systems. Therefore, within the context of aquaculture, there is a need to:

Responding to the demands made by retailers, consumers and producers
12. With increasing global awareness and concern for the environment, the efficiency of resource use, the sustainability of different food production systems, and food safety, there are increasing demands made by retailers and consumers for the production of greener, healthier and safer food sources for human consumption and consequently, increasing demands by farmers and consumers for the development of nationally/internationally recognized standards and/or codes/guidelines for food production, including aquaculture production. Thus, there is a need to promote human resource development and capacity building through (i) training, extension, education and transfer of appropriate technology; and (ii) improved provision of, and access to information. Better understanding of the implications of such demands for producers, and particularly, small-scale producers in developing countries, and to promote technical assistance and investment that support such producers in adjusting to such consumer retailing and consumer demands is also necessary..
Aquaculture and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF)5

13. The CCRF is increasingly being recognized as a reference and framework of basic principles and norms which all stakeholders concerned with sustainable aquaculture development can use as a common platform for better understanding, consultation and collaboration.
CCRF: scope
14. Initiated in 1991 by COFI, developed in a multi-stakeholder consultation process, and adopted in 1995 by the over 170 Member Governments of the FAO Conference, the CCRF represents the most significant globally recognized international framework in the realm of the world's marine, coastal and inland fisheries, including aquaculture. Based on major international agreements (UNCLOS6, UNCED7, CBD8), the Code sets out principles and international standards of behaviour for responsible practices with a view to ensuring the effective conservation, management and development of living aquatic resources, with due respect for the ecosystem and biodiversity. The Articles of the Code cover all major issues and practices in fisheries, including fisheries management, fishing operations, aquaculture development, integration of fisheries into coastal area management, post-harvest practices, trade, and fisheries research; general principles; and provisions related to its implementation, monitoring, updating and the special requirements of developing countries.

15. It is very important to note that - in addition to Article 9 "Aquaculture Development", which explicitly covers major aspects of aquaculture and culture-based fisheries, - there are also significant provisions in other sections of the Code having an important bearing on aquaculture and its general development context, for example, recommendations regarding impacts on local communities, fisheries management, fishing operations, coastal area management, post-harvest practices, and the quality, safety and trade of fish and fishery/aquaculture products.
16. The Code is addressed primarily at States, that is, the Code stipulates actions to be taken by States and their government authorities and institutions. However, it is also meant to address persons, interest groups and institutions, public or private, that are involved in or concerned with fisheries and aquaculture. In fact, in the case of aquaculture development, it is evident that responsibilities beyond the local farm level need to be shared by many players.9 Providing an "enabling environment" for sustainable development in aquaculture, as in agriculture, is the responsibility of people in governments and their institutions, the media, financial institutions, legislators and NGOs, as well as of social and natural scientists, manufacturers and suppliers of inputs, and processors and traders of aquaculture products. CCRF establishes the need for safety and quality of aquaculture products and their protection throughout the production and post-harvest process. These aspects are dealt with in detail by the COFI Sub-Committee on Fish Trade.
17. It should be borne in mind that many aquafarmers, like most of their terrestrial counterparts, continue to attempt solving problems on their farms while struggling with constraints such as inadequate access to natural and financial resources, lack of institutional and legal support, and unavailability of appropriate information. In many cases, it is very difficult for aquaculture farmers to adapt their farming practices to new requirements. Nonetheless, in many cases there are obvious and significant advantages for the producers to improve their practices, most often in terms of increased productivity and efficiency, resulting in sustained profits, as well as in terms of environmental performance and public image. Most significantly, however, are those advantages that arise from recognized product quality and acknowledged "good practice". Most producers recognize consumer demands as well as the requirements of retailers. It is, therefore, important that appropriate information on aquaculture is provided to consumers and to the public in general. Those trading aquaculture products, as well as those supplying inputs required for aquaculture, also have a role to play in providing such information to civil society.
Monitoring and reporting on progress of CCRF implementation
18. Article 4 of CCRF requires FAO to monitor the application and implementation of the Code. Progress in implementing the CCRF at the national, regional and global levels is regularly discussed at COFI.10 Training and capacity building are major priorities for developing countries, where lack of technical assistance and additional financial resources is a major critical constraint to the effective application of the Code. COFI in 200111 discussed the most recent Progress Report on the Implementation of the CCRF and, inter alia:

Assistance to implementation of the CCRF
19. In formulating and negotiating the Code, it was recognized that many developing countries continue to face significant development problems, and that the special economic and social circumstances prevailing in these countries would need to be given due consideration. The Code therefore calls - in Article 5 - for efforts and measures to address the needs of developing countries, especially in the areas of financial and technical assistance, technology transfer, training, scientific cooperation and, particularly, human resource development.
20. FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme assistance has been a vehicle for providing assistance for specific needs of Member Governments on the implementation of CCRF (e.g. legal frameworks, health management strategies etc.). FAO's Legal Department (LEGN) has been active in providing legal technical assistance, particularly in reviewing countries' legal framework for aquaculture, or a particular aquaculture technique or issue (e.g. community-based management) common to many countries (e.g. Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Zambia, Vietnam).
21. FAO's Fisheries Department devotes substantial efforts to normative activities to promote the full implementation of the CCRF and has prepared technical guidelines to facilitate the implementation of the Code (Box 1). One example is the FAO's support to the preparation of guideline studies on planning and management for sustainable coastal aquaculture development.12 Another example is the guidelines on the collection of structural aquaculture statistics as an element in the Programme for the World Census of Agriculture 2000.13
22. In many countries, the application of the CCRF is highly dependent on availability and access to technical and policy information on fisheries, aquaculture and environmental matters. FAO's Fisheries Department (FAO/FI) actively promotes the UN Atlas of the Oceans, the Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS)14, and other knowledge and information systems15, and supports work by GESAMP16, as well as activities related to aquatic biodiversity and aquatic genetic resources, in support of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Box 1. Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries produced by FAO's Fisheries Department

23. In many countries, the application of the CCRF is highly dependent on availability and access to technical and policy information on fisheries, aquaculture and environmental matters. FAO's Fisheries Department (FAO/FI) actively promotes the UN Atlas of the Oceans, the Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS)17, and other knowledge and information systems18, and supports work by GESAMP19, as well as activities related to aquatic biodiversity and aquatic genetic resources, in support of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
24. In many instances, however, critical constraints to responsible fisheries in less developed countries cannot be effectively addressed by FAO/FI because Regular Programme resources are limited. In addition to a Medium-Term Strategy in support of the implementation of the CCRF, FAO/FI has developed several project modules under the First Phase of the Inter-regional Programme for the Assistance to Developing Countries for the Implementation of the CCRF. Their scope includes: Implementation of the Compliance Agreement; Reporting of Fisheries Statistics; Fishing Operations; Marine Resource Survey Capabilities; Fishery Policy, Planning and Management; Fishing Fleet Restructuring Policies; Post-Harvest Practices and Trade; and Support to NGOs.
25. The Second Phase of the Programme of Assistance to Developing Countries for the Implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, called FISHCODE20, is a special programme funded through donor Trust Fund contributions. Component projects for the expanded FISHCODE Programme have been prepared on the basis of priority needs identified by the FAO/FI in consultation with FAO Member Countries and potential donors.
26. One important FISHCODE component, as proposed, is entitled Responsible Aquaculture Development and Management (see Box 2), and aims at the improvement of capacities for the development and implementation of responsible aquaculture and management practices and improved institutional and legal arrangements at local, national, sub-regional and regional levels, in accordance with the CCRF. Donor funding in support of this component will be necessary.

Box 2. The five major outputs of the proposed aquaculture component of the FISHCODE Programme

Output 1: An improved knowledge-base among stakeholders on development and management of aquaculture.
Activities: Technical guidance for assessment of education, training and extension needs of selected reference fisheries, and information-sharing on the status, opportunities, challenges and options available.
Output 2: Improved legislative and regulatory frameworks for aquaculture development and management in trans-boundary ecosystems, in particular with regard to the safe trans-boundary movement of live aquatic animals and animal products.
Activities: Workshops on trans-boundary issues and implementation of technical guidelines, preparation of draft legislation, consensus-building and follow-up actions at sub-regional and national levels.
Output 3: Strengthened capacities and capabilities in the development and implementation of frameworks and methods for environmental impact assessment (EIA).
Activities: Development of training modules on EIA related to aquaculture operations, for different stakeholders and target groups (producers, government agencies, local communities), as applicable to selected regions and sub-regions, aquaculture production systems, culture-based fisheries activities and commodities; demonstrationg through capacity-building exercises and public-private partnerships.
Output 4: Awareness and guidelines on the application of the precautionary approach to aquaculture development.
Activities: Production of guidelines and definitions; training and capacity-building at various stakeholder levels, including government agencies, producer and advocacy groups, on the application of the guidelines and methodologies.
Output 5: Strengthened capabilities and capacities in aquaculture genetic biotechnology, including risk assessment and risk management of biotechnological applications.
Activities: Development and implementation of breeding programmes for domestication and genetic improvement of key species in selected regions; evaluation of level of acceptance of genetic technologies and their actual impact on food security; awareness-raising through Internet posting and publication of a basic framework to assess risks and benefits of biotechnologies.

27. Promotion and overall improvement of active partnerships to assist in the implementation of the Code are essential.
Overview of selected initiatives towards sustainable aquaculture and the implementation of the CCRF
28. Recently, a number of regional and inter-regional initiatives have been undertaken in support of the implementation of the aquaculture provisions of the CCRF.
Application of CCRF Article 9 (Aquaculture Development) in the Mediterranean Region.
29. In the framework of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the Italian Government requested and funded a specific project for a Consultation on the Application of Article 9 (Aquaculture Development) of the CCRF in the Mediterranean Region. This Consultation was conceived as a test to start assistance to Member Countries in the implementation of the CCRF, within the context of a specific sub-sector and geographic region. The objectives of the project on the Consultation were:

30. A final international Consultation21 was held in Rome, Italy, from 19-23 July 1999. The Consultation discussed two working documents: (i) the synthesis of the national reports prepared by the countries, and (ii) a proposal for elements to be considered for the preparation of action plans at the national and regional levels. The Consultation adopted an Action Plan based on five major elements, namely to:

SEAFDEC Regional Guidelines for Aquaculture Development
31. The Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC/AQD) is implementing a project to develop regional guidelines for aquaculture development under the SEAFDEC Program on the Regionalization of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (RCCRF-AD). In 2000, AQD conducted two consultations. The first was the Pre-Technical Meeting of Core Experts held on 31 July - 2 August, where participants discussed the SEAFDEC Project on RCCRF and the scope of work for the preparation of the Regional Guidelines. On 21-22 November, the Core Aquaculture Experts, as well as experts from Japan and the Philippines, the FAO-Regional Office for Asia-Pacific, the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) and AQD held a consultation where the participants adopted the Draft Regional Guidelines for Aquaculture Development for confirmation by their respective governments.
FEAP Code of Conduct for European Aquaculture
32. The Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) during 1999-2000 has worked on the development of a Code of Conduct for European Aquaculture.22 Following consultation with the FAO, the European Union (EU) Commission, and the 28 Member Associations of the FEAP, the Code of Conduct was approved unanimously at the Federation's Annual General Assembly in June 2000.

FAO/NACA activities on aquatic animal health management in Asia-Pacific
33. Article 9 - Aquaculture Development - of the CCRF includes provisions and calls for action to minimize the impacts of trans-boundary movements of aquatic animals and pathogens.
34. On request of Asian countries, FAO, through a FAO Regional Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) Project23 assisted NACA24 to provide technical guidance and assistance to Asian governments in undertaking responsible movement (introduction and transfer) of aquatic animals through appropriate strategies that minimize the potential health risks associated with live aquatic animal movements and in concordance with other international agreements and treaties.
35. The Regional TCP, implemented by NACA in 1998, in cooperation with designated National Coordinators of 21 participating governments, regional and international experts, and regional and international organizations (OIE FDC25, OIE Tokyo26, AAHRI27, AusAID/APEC28 and AFFA29), became the focal point for a strong, multi-disciplinary Asia Pacific Regional Aquatic Animal Health Programme.
36. The "Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals and the Beijing Consensus and Implementation Strategy"30, the supporting "Manual of Procedures"31 and "Asia Diagnostic Guide"32 were developed through consensus-building and consultations among relevant stakeholders. The Technical Guidelines was adopted in principle in June 2000 by participating governments and by the 9th Meeting of the ASEAN FWG33 in September 2001.
37. The Asia-Pacific Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Reporting System and the Asian chapter of the Aquatic Animal Pathogen and Quarantine Information System (AAPQIS-Asia)34 were established under the same co-operative mechanism. A National Strategy on Aquatic Animal Health Management35 was also developed by each of the participating countries, and these are expected to be integrated into the national development programme of each participating country.
38. A first major step in moving forward the implementation of the Technical Guidelines is the establishment of the Asia Aquatic Animal Health Advisory Group (AG) - an official regional expert group, institutionalized under the inter-governmental organization of NACA, to provide advice to Asian governments in implementing (and monitoring) the Technical Guidelines and aquatic animal health issues within Asia.
39. This Regional TCP sensitized donors and development agencies to assist in the implementation. APEC36 continues to provide valuable assistance. The Mekong River Commission Fisheries Programme is giving priority to the development of a basin-wide strategy for controlling aquatic animal diseases in shared watershed among Mekong riparian countries. Several other health-related initiatives are being pursued with other interested donor agencies.
40. The TCP influenced and initiated activities in other regions, and helped in establishing another regional programme on shrimp health for Latin America37 fostering co-operative linkages between the Asia and Latin America regions through south-south cooperation.
41. The need for developing cohesive regional and international policies for safe and responsible movement of aquatic animals and animal products and the importance of establishing effective contingency plans and surveillance programmes for reducing the risks of trans-boundary movement of aquatic animal pathogens have been recognized. An Expert Consultation to address above issues is being planned in late 2002, in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans-Canada (DFO-Canada).
CCRF implementation and shrimp aquaculture: a recent history of FAO involvement
42. FAO has pursued, in collaboration with various partners, initiatives to support implementation of the CCRF by providing technical assistance and policy advice to its Member Governments.
43. The FAO Bangkok Technical Consultation on Policies for Sustainable Shrimp Culture produced a consensus "that sustainable shrimp culture is practised and is a desirable and achievable goal which should be pursued"38. The Consultation emphasized that achievement of sustainable shrimp culture is dependent on development and adoption of better management practices at the farm level; the cooperation of industry in utilizing sound technology in its planning, development and operations; and effective government policy and regulatory actions. In recognizing the importance of shrimp culture, it recommended a number of specific follow-up activities.
44. Responding to the recommendations, and on the basis of the criteria and indicators developed by FAO39, countries reported to COFI in 1999 and 2001 on the progress in implementing the CCRF in the shrimp aquaculture sub-sector. Governments are increasingly involved in shrimp aquaculture management, although information on environmental concerns and social and economic benefits and costs of shrimp aquaculture is still inadequate.

45. To support analysis and sharing of experiences on better management practices of shrimp culture, FAO entered into a Consortium Programme on Shrimp Farming and the Environment40 in collaboration with the World Bank, NACA and WWF41. The central objective of the Consortium Programme is to identify better management practices under various environmental, economic and social conditions and to assess the cost-benefits for farmers to adopt these practices.
46. The FAO/Government of Australia Expert Consultation on "Good Management Practices and Good Legal and Institutional Arrangements for Sustainable Shrimp Culture" was held in cooperation with the Consortium partners in Australia, in late 2000.42
47. The Consultation produced a set of agreed operating principles, at the farm and sector levels, that may serve as the basis for sustainable shrimp culture, supported by guidelines on the development and implementation of location-specific good management practices and a set of good legal and institutional arrangements. The Consultation recommended that a draft document on the objectives and operating principles, and the legal and institutional arrangements to support implementation, be prepared for consideration by an intergovernmental consultation for eventual adoption by FAO members.
48. FAO also collaborated with many agencies in conducting regional activities and provided technical assistance and policy advice to Member Governments on sustainable shrimp aquaculture, including health management.
49. The FAO Legal Office has completed a comparative survey of national laws and regulations governing shrimp aquaculture that will support identification of good legal and institutional arrangements and an assessment of current constraints for countries to adopt them.
50. FAO's continued assistance will include: (a) awareness-building, information exchange and capacity-building to develop and implement better farm and sectoral management and policy measures; (b) assisting with trans-boundary issues relating to the movement of aquatic animals and associated spread of shrimp pathogens and disease; (c) promoting cooperation and partnerships, and providing a neutral platform for information exchange and constructive dialogue among stakeholders; (d) promoting international dialogue on major issues affecting shrimp culture; and (e) preparing a document on the objectives and operating principles, and the legal and institutional arrangements to support implementation, to be presented to an intergovernmental consultation for formal adoption/agreement.
Opportunities, challenges and needs for regional and inter-regional cooperation in support of the implementation of the CCRF
51. Strong emphasis is given by the FAO/FI to further strengthening international cooperation and the role of regional fishery and aquaculture organizations, NGOs (including private sector, environmental and social interest groups), and other stakeholders concerned with fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic environments.
52. Over the years, such cooperation and collaboration have brought significant benefits to aquaculture development, mainly through dissemination of knowledge and expertise. In an era of globalization, further strengthening of this cooperation at all levels will ensure increased benefits for both sectoral development and sustainability. There are lessons to be learnt from our past experience, opportunities and challenges, as well as new approaches.
53. Resource availability for aquaculture development and management is also vulnerable to the current "down-sizing" trends, mirroring many other publicly funded development initiatives. There is also increasing concern that recipients should demonstrate greater accountability for the responsible use of such resources. Therefore, the aquaculture sector must move towards the adoption of strategies that optimize cooperation at all levels, enabling the sector to address collectively the issues that are important to achieving sustainable development.
54. In doing so, it is imperative to emphasize the importance of establishing complementarity and avoiding duplication and competition. The current trend is to move from a compartmentalized sectoral development approach to one of more integrated development, incorporating aquaculture and culture-based fisheries activities within overall rural development and improving rural livelihoods. This change requires significant efforts in cooperation at all levels.
55. In this respect, cooperation has three major facets: national, intra-regional (=regional) and inter-regional. National level cooperation refers to collaboration and sharing within a country. While regional cooperation emphasizes the cooperation within a specific region, inter-regional cooperation addresses both cooperation and collaboration between two or more regions, noting that the mechanisms for achieving such cooperation can be different.
56. There are many examples of regional cooperation at different levels. At the state/government level, there are examples of political and economic cooperation.43 There are also examples of inter-governmental organizations44 with broad mandates of development cooperation. At the institutional level, there are agencies that share resources and collaborate at the regional level45, and some NGOs cooperating at the regional level.
57. One of the key elements in measuring how effective we are at achieving effective cooperation relates to the process of setting and agreeing upon priorities for development. The process through which development priorities are established must necessarily be rigorous and easily definable from technical and economic, as well as political perspectives.
58. As such, governments and agencies involved in aquaculture development initiatives are being increasingly vigilant to ensure that their decision-making processes satisfy these criteria. Clearly, stronger debate and greater wisdom are required to ensure that resources are not applied too thinly or ineffectively in the hopes of broadening coverage, instead of allocating them to resolving key constraints to development.
59. Furthermore, in formulating aquaculture development programmes, greater recognition needs to be given to the importance of ensuring that those established priorities are driven internally. This, in itself, is often difficult and great care needs to be exercised in proceeding along this path.
60. Cooperation in aquaculture development at the European level has tended to be structured around European research and technology development (RTD) actions, which have enabled the constitution of international projects. In recent programmes (framework programmes), accent has been given to the involvement of SMEs (Small and Medium-Size Enterprises), particularly, where practical, on-site solutions are sought.
61. Networking, through the establishment of formal and informal networks, has been strongly encouraged in Europe, and these are playing an increasingly important role in providing information and assisting contact establishment. Nonetheless, since most of these emanate from a research or education environment, such an academic slant can create distancing from the production sector. Within the professional sector, networked cooperation is primed by the representative associations, which usually have strong links to government and academies.
62. There are the regional indigenous organizations (RIOs), such as ASEAN, NACA, SEAFDEC, SPF and APEC, which are funded by their Member States but also attract programme and project funds from external sources. Included in the equation are the various country dialogue partners, who provide funding to bilateral and regional development projects; the regional financial institutions; education, training and research institutions; and private sector interests, all of which are involved in development processes.
63. In Europe, at the regional level, cooperation exists through different well-established NGOs. The FEAP is composed of the European National Aquaculture Associations, while the European Aquaculture Society groups individual scientists and technicians. The programme AquaTT promotes regional efforts for developing tertiary education and networks. Cooperation between these entities effectively provides a coherent bridge between the research and production sectors, while the FEAP, within its consultative role with the European Commission, is able to provide the link with the legislative and political sectors at a regional level. While such cooperation is partly statutory (e.g. FEAP-Commission within the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture in the EU), it is mostly informal or project-oriented.
64. During the evolution of development agencies in many parts of the world, there are some overlapping, perhaps even competing, interests. To achieve a level of cooperation that emphasizes complementarity, rather than duplication and competition, in positioning activities on their respective priority agendas, improved processes need to be identified to divide responsibilities fairly and equitably among existing agencies.
65. When committed to formal regional cooperation, benefits are to be gained in terms of maintaining focus on the political and priority agenda levels. Once agreed to at the regional level, it is more difficult for a Member State to unilaterally declare a separate agenda that is inconsistent with the region as a whole.
66. It is now also clear from past experience that there is much to be gained through inter-regional cooperation. Specific climatic, social, cultural or other features usually prevent total transplantation of development programmes from one region to another. However, there are tremendous benefits to be derived from the greater understanding and cooperation made possible by expanding the development process to consider the inter-regional level.
67. A key element for successful cooperation is the establishment of credible and transparent decision-making procedures at all levels. Furthermore, one cannot underestimate the requirement for human skills within the cooperative framework. While sometimes impossible to avoid, the dominance of (a) partner(s) within a cooperative structure can lead to dissatisfaction and failure, countering the original basis of agreement. Cooperation has to be based on the establishment of clear goals, an agreed methodology for their achievement, and identification of the financial resources that allow the work to be done.
68. While geographic distances remain considerable, the advent of the World Wide Web has done much to shrink distances "virtually" and permit opportunity for "south-south" sharing of knowledge, relative to the opportunities and constraints facing people and organizations engaged in aquaculture development in all regions of the globe. More conventionally, tremendous opportunities exist for south-south cooperation in capacity building, education, training, extension and research within aquaculture development. In comprehending the lessons learnt, especially focusing on the decades of aquaculture development efforts by many agencies and the significantly different results revealed in Asia, Africa and Latin America, it is probably time to examine more closely how south-south cooperation could be more effectively achieved.
69. In this era of globalization, there are also opportunities through inter-regional cooperation for developing more coherent policies that effectively address obligations to international treaties and agreements, liberalization of international trade, and minimizing negative trans-boundary impacts of aquaculture. There is an excellent opportunity for integrating the bottom-up concerns, prominent at the local and national levels, with a more benevolent top-down management approach necessary for a successful regional and inter-regional approach to cooperation.
70. There are positive and successful examples of effective regional cooperation in aquaculture development through inter-governmental arrangements/agreements in Asia, in particular organizations such as NACA and SEAFDEC. It is important to examine how this successful Asian experience can be shaped to address other regions' needs for sustainable aquaculture development. During the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium, held in Bangkok in February 2000, it was recommended that a forum of RIOs be organized so that RIOs from all regions will be able to share the experiences encountered and discuss how analogous models could be developed in their own regions. FAO was requested to take necessary action towards implementing this recommendation.
71. If common grounds could be found and mechanisms of effective south-south cooperation could be developed, this would provide for more inter-regional dialogue and more rapid dissemination of useful information, and could serve as a catalyst for the overall thrust of greater inter-regional cooperation in aquaculture development and implementation of the CCRF. This will undoubtedly help in achieving the broad global objectives of poverty alleviation, food security, rural development and international trade.
Suggested action by the Sub-Committee
72. In keeping with its terms of reference, the Sub-Committee is requested to consider experiences and lessons learnt in the implementation of CCRF provisions related to aquaculture and culture-based fisheries and to offer its advice on the role and function of FAO on addressing relevant issues, in particular:

73. The Sub-Committee may wish to consider recommending specific action by FAO's Fisheries Department, FAO's Member Countries, and regional and international organizations concerned with sustainable aquaculture development and the implementation of the CCRF.

1 Aquaculture in this working document also includes relevant components of culture-based fisheries.

2 NACA/FAO. 2000. Aquaculture Development Beyond 2000: the Bangkok Declaration and Strategy Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium, 20-25 February 2000. Bangkok, Thailand. Bangkok, NACA, and Rome, FAO, 27 p.

3 FAO, 1999. The Rome Declaration on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries adopted by the FAO Ministerial Meeting on Fisheries. Rome, 10-11 March 1999.

4 Dar, W., 1999. Sustainable aquaculture development and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

5 FAO. 1995. Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Rome, FAO, 41 p.

6 UNCLOS: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

7 UNCED: United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992).

8 CBD: Convention on Biological Diversity (1992).

9 FAO. 1997. Aquaculture Development. FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries No. 5. Rome, FAO, 40 p.

10 Based on questionnaires forwarded to all FAO Members, countries have so far been reporting to COFI in 1999 and 2001. Summary reports on progress made regarding implementation of aquaculture-related CCRF provisions are available in the 1998 and 2000 summaries of the responses by countries, regional bodies and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) to the questionnaires sent out by the secretariat.

FAO. 2001. Summarized extracts on the status of implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. 163 p.

FAO. 2001. Progress in the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related international plans of action. COFI/2001/3. Committee on Fisheries. Twenty-fourth Session. Rome, Italy, 26 February - 2 March 2001.

11 FAO. 2001. Report of the 24th Session of the Committee on Fisheries, Rome, Italy, 26 February - 2 March 2001. CL 120/7.

Hundred and twentieth Session of the FAO Council. Rome, 18-23 June 2001.

12 GESAMP (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/WMO/WHO/IAEA/UN/UNEP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). 2001. Planning and Management for sustainable coastal aquaculture development. Rep. Std. GESAMP, 68:90p.

13 Rana K.J. "Guidelines on the collection of structural aquaculture statistics. Supplement to the Programme for the World Census of Agriculture 2000"- FAO Statistical development Series No. 5b. Rome, FAO. 1997 56 p.

14 Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS)

15 See, for example, FAO's Database on Introductions of Aquatic Species (DIAS). and the Aquatic Animal Pathogen and Quarantine Information System (AAPQIS) -

16 GESAMP: IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/WMO/WHO/IAEA/UN/UNEP Joint group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection.

17 Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS)

18 See, for example, FAO's Database on Introductions of Aquatic Species (DIAS). and the Aquatic Animal Pathogen and Quarantine Information System (AAPQIS) -

19 GESAMP: IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/WMO/WHO/IAEA/UN/UNEP Joint group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection.

20 FISHCODE. 2001. Global partnership for responsible fisheries.

21 FAO. 1999. Report of the Consultation on the Application of Article 9 of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in the Mediterranean Region. Rome, Italy, 19-23 July 1999. Rapport de la Consultation sur l'application de l'Article 9 du Code de conduite pour une pêche responsible de la FAO dans la région méditerranéenne. Rome, Italie, 19-23 juillet 1999. FAO Fisheries Report/FAO Rapport sur les pêches no 606. Rome, FAO, 1999. 208 p. ,

22 FEAP. 2000. The Code of Conduct for European Aquaculture. (Federation of European Aquaculture Producers).

23 FAO Regional Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) Project (TCP/RAS 6714 and 9605) "Assistance for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals".

24 Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA).

25 Fish Disease Commission of the "Office International des Épizooties"(OIE), or World Animal Health Organization.

26 OIE Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific, Tokyo, Japan.

27 Aquatic Animal Health Research Institute (AAHRI) of Thailand's Department of Fisheries.

28 Australian Agency for International Development/Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

29 Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Australia (AFFA).

30 FAO/NACA. 2000. Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals and the Beijing Consensus and Implementation Strategy. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 402. Rome, FAO, 53 p.

31 FAO/NACA. 2001a. Manual of Procedures for the Implementation of Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 402. Supplement 1, Rome, FAO. 153 p.

32 FAO/NACA. 2001b. Asia Diagnostic Guide to Aquatic Animal Diseases. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 402, Supplement 2. Rome, FAO. 300 p.

33 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Fisheries Working Group.

34 AAPQIS-Asia can be accessed at


36 APEC/FAO/NACA/SEMARNAP. 2001. Trans-boundary Aquatic Animal Pathogen Transfer and the Development of Harmonised Standards on Aquaculture Health Management. Report of the joint APEC/FAO/NACA/SEMARNAP Workshop, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, 24-28 July 2000. Bangkok, NACA. 197 p.

37 FAO TCP/RLA/0071 "Asistencia para el Manejo Sanitario del Cultivo del Camarón en América Latina".

38 FAO. 1998. Report of the Bangkok FAO Technical Consultation on Policies for Sustainable Shrimp Culture. Bangkok, Thailand, 8-11 December 1997. FAO Fisheries Report No. 572.

39 FAO. 1998. Report of the Ad hoc Meeting on Indicators and Criteria of Sustainable Shrimp Culture. Rome, Italy, 28-30 April 1998,

40 WB/NACA/WWF/FAO Consortium Programme on Shrimp Farming and the Environment.

41 World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

42 FAO. 2001. Report of the FAO/Government of Australia Expert Consultation on Good Management Practices and Legal and Institutional Arrangements for Sustainable Shrimp Culture. Brisbane, Australia, 4-7 December 2000. FAO Fisheries Report No. 659. 70 p.

43 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the European Community, etc.

44 Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), South East Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC), South Pacific Forum (SPF), NASCO (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization), etc.

45 FAO, NACA, Department for International Cooperation (DFID) and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) in the newly formulated Support to Regional Aquatic Resources Management (STREAM) initiative based at NACA, Bangkok.