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A. Introduction

1. This Regional Study and Workshop on the Environmental Assessment and Management of Aquaculture Development (TCP/RAS/2253) was requested by governments of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) and funded through the Technical Co-operation Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United National (FAO). The project was launched in September 1992, with a planning meeting in Bangkok attended by National Environment Co-ordinators (NECs) nominated by participating governments. Following this planning meeting, the NECs undertook detailed country studies, in preparation for the final workshop, held on 21–26 February 1994, at the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAPA) of FAO.

B. Attendance

2. The workshop was attended by sixteen governments from the region, represented by their National Environment Co-ordinators and a senior official responsible for policies in fisheries. The countries represented included: Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Iran; Korea (Rep.); Lao (PDR); Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Thailand; and Vietnam. Pakistan prepared a country report, which was considered by the workshop, but did not attend. DPR Korea had participated in the planning meeting but did not attend the final workshop.

Participating international organisations included the World Health Organization (WHO), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Regional institutes, agencies and projects included the ASEAN-EC Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme (AADCP), Asian Wetland Bureau, Asian Institute of Technology, Asian Fisheries Society, Mekong Committee and UN ESCAP. Several private sector, non-government organisations and academic institutions from various countries were also represented.

Annex I-1 is the List of Participants.

C. Opening activities

3. Mr. Imre Csavas, FAO Regional Aquaculture Officer, welcomed the workshop participants on behalf of the Assistant Director-General of the FAO Regional Office for Asia-Pacific. He said that aquaculture in the region has shown a remarkable growth rate, however, there is increasing evidence of limits to its expansion. These limits are related to marketing constraints, price fluctuations as well as to the ecological sustainability of certain aquaculture practices.

4. Dr. Banchong Tiensongrusmee, NACA Co-ordinator, welcomed the participants on behalf of the NACA Organisation. He thanked the Governments for their participation in the study and the workshop; FAO for its timely response to the governments' needs, which was made in the form of the TCP project; the National Environment Co-ordinators for carrying out the work and their ready and sincere co-operation; the TCP team for ably supervising the conduct of the study; the resource persons for their expert contribution; and the representatives of other organisations for their interest in assisting governments. The NACA Co-ordinator described the NACA holistic Regional Programme on Environment and Aquaculture Development and its component activities.

Annex I-2 is the speech of the NACA Co-ordinator.

5. Dr. Plodprasop Suraswadi, Director General of the Department of Fisheries, Thailand, welcomed the participants on behalf of the Government. He said Thailand provided many lessons in environment and aquaculture, as the industry (particularly shrimp culture) has expanded rapidly. He described some critical issues that stemmed from the interactions between aquaculture and the environment, highlighting those in the shrimp industry. He said the issues are complex and do not readily allow for easy and neat solutions. Governments need to strike at an acceptable and popular balance between promoting social and economic development and ensuring that the productive capacity of the environment is sustained. The search for the right blend of solutions is, however, sometimes distracted by emotive issues.

6. He re-affirmed Thailand's strong adherence to regional co-operation, and strong support of activities related to environmental protection and the development and management of natural resources. He pointed out to the representatives from international, regional and non-government organisations, that governments are already doing their utmost to help themselves by sharing national resources and pooling efforts, through such inter-governmental mechanisms as NACA, to solve common problems. He assured the participating organisations that governments shall continue to do so, as they realise the need for a sustained and co-operative effort to solve environmental problems. He then suggested that this meeting identify and define areas for collaboration between governments and organisations.

Annex I-3 is the Keynote Address.

D. Scope and objectives of the workshop

7. Mr Ulf Wijkstrom, Project Team Leader and Workshop Chairman, explained the scope of the workshop, thus: (i) the environmental management of aquaculture implies the management of the interaction between aquaculture and the environment and the reduction of unwanted impacts from these interactions; (ii) impacts can be physical (ecological), legal or economic and managing the impact implies achieving control over their magnitude and nature. Impacts originate with man or can be considered as “Acts of God”. Man-made impacts may rise immediately after the “polluting action” or may take longer time to arise (e.g. effects related to global warming), the legal impacts are immediate; (iii) the impacts, from the aquaculturist's point of view, can be managed at the farm level (through technical modifications) or through interventions (of a legal nature) adopted by government.

8. The workshop objectives were to:

  1. identify the ideal methods for managing environmental impact;
  2. recommend to farmers, governments and international organisations, the steps to be taken to introduce those methods.

E. Organisation

9. The country presentations and technical sessions were held over 4 days, followed by a one-day field trip to government aquaculture facilities and private farms. Governments reported on the results of the country studies, including selected cases illustrating interactions between aquaculture and the environment. The regional, overview was presented by the TCP Project team. Two working groups on inland aquaculture and coastal aquaculture (made up from the participants) identified: (i) environmental management options for aquaculture; and (ii) suggested follow-up actions to resolve issues arising from various interactions between aquaculture and the environment. The suggested actions were considered at the farm, government, and regional levels.

Annex I-5 is the Workshop Programme.

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