The ecological and socio-economic benefits and costs of aquaculture activities are potentially so significant that policies are necessary to ensure that financial gain is not at the expense of the ecosystem or the rest of society; aquaculture developments should follow established principles and policies. The following general principles and policies are proposed (adapted from GESAMP, 1991c):
2.1 General Principles
- Coastal aquaculture has the potential to produce food and generate income contributing to social and economic well-being.
- Planned and properly managed aquaculture development is a productive use of coastal areas which should be undertaken within the broader framework of integrated coastal area management plans, according to national economic objectives and national goals for sustainable development and in harmony with international obligations.
- The likely adverse consequences of aquaculture and other coastal developments on the social and ecological environment must be predicted and evaluated, and measures formulated in order to contain these consequences within acceptable, pre-determined limits.
- Aquaculture and other activities in coastal areas should be adequately regulated and monitored to ensure that adverse effects remain within pre-determined limits and to detect when contingency and other plans need to be brought into effect to reverse any trends which could lead toward unacceptable environmental consequences.
- The sound utilization of the ecological capacity of the coastal area to produce aquatic products and generate income.
- The development of policy and management mechanisms to reduce conflict with other coastal activities.
- The prevention or reduction of the adverse environmental impacts of coastal aquaculture and other coastal activities.
- The management and coordination of aquaculture activities to ensure that their adverse impacts remain within acceptable limits.
- The reduction of health risks from the consumption of aquaculture products.
(Specific background and guidance information related to the actions suggested below is provided in the overview sections 3-6. The actions are grouped below as related to these sections. The paragraphs in the overview sections are numbered. For more details on each action proposed, please see relevant paragraphs.)
There is a variety of activities which can be undertaken to promote environmental management of coastal aquaculture and to achieve its successful development. The following actions are suggested:
· Coastal aquaculture and the environment: understanding the context
(Section 3 refers)
1. Emphasize the socio-economic and ecological benefits of coastal aquaculture. Collect and provide information on opportunities and achievements in coastal aquaculture development.
(see paragraphs 2-6)
2. Enhance awareness and understanding of the potential adverse environmental effects of coastal aquaculture. Address both the bio-physical and socio-economic aspects of environmental interactions associated with coastal aquaculture activities.
3. Distinguish between the species cultured, the farming methods applied and the prevailing ecological characteristics of the aquaculture site. Most scientific evidence on adverse ecological impact due to aquaculture originates from temperate countries and cannot be applied to aquaculture in tropical environments. Encourage research on ecological interactions of coastal aquaculture.
4. Emphasize the risks of self-pollution and other negative feedback effects. In particular, address the self-pollution risks of increasing aggregation of aquafarms in coastal embayments.
5. Consider aquaculture as one of many activities in coastal areas. Multiple resource use in coastal areas in many cases results in serious pollution of coastal waters. Highlight possible threats to aquaculture due to increasing pollution in coastal areas.
(paragraphs 67-72; see also Annex 2)
6. Address potential negative social implications of aquaculture and other developments, in particular human health risks, resource use conflicts and possible marginalization of low-income groups.
· Defining factors influencing environmental performance of coastal aquaculture
(Section 4 refers)
7. Determine the factors affecting environmental compatibility of coastal aquaculture in your project or country. Specify causes of environmental mismanagement and constraints to sustainable development of coastal aquaculture. Describe ecological, biological and technological circumstances as well as socio-economic, institutional and legal conditions relevant for coastal aquaculture development.
(paragraphs 79-91; see also 215, 225; 227-229; 237-238; 254)
· Assessing environmental hazards and impacts of coastal aquaculture
(Section 5 refers)
8. Assess the capacity of the coastal ecosystem to sustain aquaculture development with minimal ecological change.
® Pollution assessment/monitoring methods
9. Promote understanding of the environmental capacity concept. Encourage application of modern scientific methodologies for the assessment of coastal pollution such as the hazard assessment approach and adequate monitoring schemes. Advocate the establishment of a cooperative early detection/warning network of fishermen and aquaculturists.
(paragraphs 95-103 and 104-113; 112)
10. Apply, where possible, pollution assessment methods which are specific to coastal aquaculture. Ensure appropriate use of these methods, based on proper understanding of their applicability and limitations. Encourage further development of assessment methods suitable to aquaculture practices and ecological conditions in tropical environments.
11. Integrate aquaculture-specific monitoring schemes into existing coastal water pollution assessment activities. Select appropriate monitoring parameters and suitable sampling stations.
(paragraphs 148-153; see also Annex 4)
12. Employ remote sensing techniques and geographical information systems (GIS) to assess large-scale spatial and temporal environmental changes due to aquaculture and other developments in coastal areas.
® Implementation of environmental impact assessment (EIA)
13. Enhance awareness on advantages and limitations associated with the implementation of environmental impact assessment (EIA) concepts.
14. Consider that assessment studies on the social and economic impact of development activities may be carried out separately or as an integral part of an EIA. Both types of impact assessments are essential when formulating coastal aquaculture programmes and projects.
(paragraphs 155-156; see also 233-236 and 240-241)
15. Select or adapt an appropriate EIA sequence according to prevalent environmental and development requirements and according to the availability of information and implementation capacities.
16. Apply the EIA process to all major coastal aquaculture development proposals. Provide information to applicants/developers on options for mitigatory and adaptive measures to be included in project proposals.
(paragraphs 157-164; see also 177-178, 181; 218-223 and 242-278)
17. Incorporate EIA into integrated coastal area management strategies.
(paragraphs 168-170; see also 206-207)
· Improving environmental management of coastal aquaculture development
(Section 6 refers)
18. Select and implement environmental management options which suit the specific requirements for environmentally-acceptable development of aquaculture and other activities in coastal areas.
® Environment protection
19. Improve/develop management processes for protection of coastal environments.
(paragraphs 173-189; see also 236 and Annex 3)
® Integrated coastal area management (ICAM)
20. Join efforts with other coastal resource managers to formulate (or improve) and implement integrated coastal area management (ICAM) plans. There is a broad array of possible institutional arrangements and management strategies to resolve coastal use conflicts and manage coastal resources. Contribute to the establishment of an institutionalized coordination office or cooperation network.
(paragraphs 190-214; see also Annex 7)
21. Encourage broad participation in development and implementation of coastal programmes and coastal area management. Aquafarmers, artisanal and other resource users, the scientific community, and non-governmental organizations should participate or be consulted, as appropriate, in ICAM activities, along with representatives of key government bureaux who have a stake in coastal management.
(paragraphs 196-197; 214)
22. Coastal aquaculture development planners should actively participate in the formulation and implementation of ICAM plans. State goals and set priorities for coastal aquaculture development. Identify existing and potential coastal resource use conflicts between aquafarmers and other coastal resource users.
(paragraphs 226, 234; 195-197)
23. Provide aquaculture-specific data for the information base required for ICAM.
(paragraphs 198-199; see also Annex 8)
24. Participate in zoning activities leading to the designation of coastal resources and space. Indicate coastal areas appropriate or desired for aquaculture development possibly based on aquaculture-specific site selection surveys.
(paragraphs 200-208; 234)
25. Communicate frequently with other coastal resource planners and managers, stakeholder, scientists and policy-makers. Use conflict resolution techniques such as facilitated policy dialogues and mediated negotiation.
26. Help to ensure long-term funding for ICAM, through durable commitment of parties involved in aquaculture and their enforcement of aquaculture-specific regulations adopted.
® Legal framework
27. Promote the formulation of a flexible and specific legal framework in support of aquaculture development. Help to provide and enforce environmental legislation which is formulated with due account of the variety of aquaculture practices and diversity of environmental settings.
28. Environmental legislation should ensure accessibility and environmental protection of areas and resources required for coastal aquaculture development.
(paragraphs 218; see also 208, 214 and 236)
29. Contribute to the formulation of constructive environmental regulations for coastal aquaculture, where necessary, such as requirements for EIA, waste discharge limits and waste treatment specifications. Apply incentives and deterrents to reduce existing environmental degradation from aquaculture activities.
(paragraphs 219-222; see also Annex 3)
30. Adopt and apply the EIFAC/ICES codes of practice on introductions and transfers of marine and freshwater organisms. Movement of species from and to aquaculture sites should be controlled through inspection and certification.
31. Coastal aquaculture products should conform with safety standards for seafood before they are offered for human consumption. Establish quality control measures for aquaculture products. Control the use of aquaculture chemicals such as antibiotics and pesticides.
(paragraph 224; see also 260-267; 268-278)
® Planning and management of coastal aquaculture development
32. Formulate/improve coastal aquaculture development and management plans.
33. Strengthen sectoral capacities for adequate coordination of coastal aquaculture development efforts.
34. Co-operate with national development planners to ensure proper integration of coastal aquaculture development objectives and plans into national economic and agricultural development programmes.
35. Emphasis should be given to compatibility of policies and plans aiming at the development of aquaculture and other sectors as well as environmental protection.
36. Help to ensure continuous and well-targeted support to coastal aquaculture development.
® Environmental farm management
37. Promote environmental management at farm or project level. Consult with aquafarmers on specific environmental problems and mitigatory measures adopted. Provide opportunities for exchange of related experiences. Provide information and training to aquafarmers on options for improved environmental farm management.
38. Improve current aquaculture practices in terms of adequate site selection, efficiency in farm operation and maintenance, and continuous monitoring of biological and hygienic conditions on the farm. Avoid over-stocking.
39. Formulate coastal aquaculture projects which are environmentally acceptable.
® ® Use of mangrove wetland
40. Discourage, where possible, the use of pristine mangrove wetland for aquaculture. Provide instructions governing the use of mangrove wetlands.
® ® Waste management
41. Encourage the development of low-cost waste treatment technology for use in intensive land-based coastal aquaculture in developing countries.
42. Promote integrated polyculture practices to reduce waste loadings.
43. Explore ecological and economic feasibility of site rotation.
(paragraphs 249, 251)
® ® Use of feeds and fertilizers
44. Improve on-farm feed management practices. Improve fertilization and feeding strategies. Avoid over-use of fertilizers and feeds.
45. Continue research efforts on pond metabolism. Encourage development of diets and feeding methods adapted to requirements of semi-intensive farming systems in developing countries.
46. Encourage adoption of feeding regimes adjusted to specific feeding habits and behaviour of the species cultured with due consideration of water quality and water movements in the farming unit. Monitoring of feed application and, where possible, feeding response of cultured stock is essential.
47. Continue efforts to improve physical and nutritional properties of manufactured feeds for use in both warmwater and coldwater aquaculture. Special emphasis should be given to applied research on dietary nutrient requirements of warmwater fish and shrimp species.
(paragraphs 258-259; 254)
® ® Use of chemicals
48. Avoid usage of hazardous chemical substances. Emphasize measures to prevent water-quality deterioration, disease outbreaks and pests. Detailed on-farm record keeping on chemical usage is essential.
(paragraphs 260-267; 261-262; 266)
49. Discourage prophylactic use of antibiotics. Reduce environmental risks through minimal and alternating application of drugs.
50. Establish, where needed, aquaculture health management services to cover requirements for quarantine, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and product quality control.
51. Control market availability of potentially hazardous chemicals through consent mechanisms, e.g., registration and licensing. Aquafarmers must be provided with comprehensive information on environmental risks and appropriate use of chemicals.
® ® Contamination of aquaculture products
52. Promote further development of economically viable methods for depuration/sanitation of contaminated shellfish products. Monitor contaminant levels in shellfish grown in areas subject to pollution and blooms of toxic algae.
53. Prepare contingency plans for aquaculture areas threatened by events of harmful algal blooms, and advise aquafarmers on possible countermeasures to reduce risks of damage to cultured stock.
54. Promote aquaculture production in unpolluted waters and low risk areas. Increase public awareness of the safety aspects of consuming seafood. Apply, where unavoidable, temporary bans on harvesting or marketing of contaminated shellfish.