18 August 2003,
-- Countries from around the world have resolved
to cooperate more closely in order to develop a better framework
for the sustainable development of the world's aquaculture
sector, FAO said today.
The agreement comes
following the second session of the FAO Sub-Committee on
aquaculture, held 7-11 August in Trondheim, Norway.
During the five day working meeting, representatives
from FAO member countries wrestled with a wide range of issues,
including the environmental impacts of shrimp-farming, the use
of antibiotics by aquaculture, the introduction of non-native
fish species into new regions, harmonization of trade standards,
and the need for better monitoring of product safety.
In its final report, the Sub-Committee made a series
of recommendations for action by FAO as well as by the
individual countries that make up the Organization's
membership. The report will be available on the FAO Fisheries
Department website in all official Organization languages in
"The work that has been
outlined for action by FAO, or for action by the member
countries themselves, really represents a global agenda for
aquaculture," observed Serge Garcia, director of
FAO's Fishery Resources Division.
help promote national policies conducive to responsible fish
farming, FAO will develop detailed guidelines for the
responsible management of fish farms aimed at both improving the
quality of the fish farmed there and at reducing their negative
environmental impacts. A reference compendium of aquaculture
related legislation already on the books in different countries
will also be produced.
developing countries' comments that they are often unable
to keep up with changing safety standards governing fish
imports, FAO will work to improve information sharing between
importing and exporting nations and, via the international Codex
Alimentarius Commission, to develop international standards for
the safety of fish products.
Organization will also evaluate various labelling systems being
used to certify aquaculture products as safe and environmentally
friendly, with a view to encouraging worldwide adoption of a
single set of science-based standards.
Countries attending the event also agreed to work with
FAO to improve and enhance the collection of world data about
aquaculture. This year the Organization will convene a meeting
of experts from around the world to draw up a blueprint for
doing so. Fish for the
The role of
aquaculture in meeting food and nutrition needs, especially in
the developing world, was another area of priority action for
aquaculture often focus on the large-scale, industrial side of
the sector, which is often about export products" said
Rohana Subasinghe, an FAO Senior Fisheries Officer and secretary
of the Sub-Committee. "We heard a strong voice here
from the developing countries, who see aquaculture also as a way
to feed their hungry. That vision is crucial."
According to Subasinghe, 90 percent of
aquaculture today occurs in developing countries, and the sector
currently produces over 36 percent of the world's food fish
supply -- up from 7 percent in 1970.
boost the contribution that fish farming makes to world food
security, FAO will organize technical consultations on
small-scale rural aquaculture and possibly a major conference in
Africa aimed at outlining a strategy for the development of
activities were flagged for FAO action in the
Sub-Committee's final report as well, including:
- Capacity building programs that will help
governments strengthen efforts to monitor and improve the safety
of aquaculture products.
support to help countries conduct environmental impact studies
of proposed aquaculture operations and better handle the
introduction of non-native exotic fish species by fish farmers.
- Studies on the emerging practice of tuna
fattening and its environmental consequences.
- A case-study based-analysis of the environmental and
social impacts of different kinds of aquaculture operations for
use in long-term planning by governments.
An in-depth report on aquaculture's future trajectory and
the related policy issues that will need to be resolved.
"It is FAO's job to help feed
the world's hungry," Subasinghe said.
"This body and the recommendations it produces sharpen
our efforts, and help us move forward towards that
Jiansan Jia, chief of
FAO's Inland Waters and Aquaculture Service, noted that
aquaculture's contribution to feeding the hungry will
become increasingly important in years to come.
Some projections suggest that captures by traditional
wild fisheries will stagnate within the next 30 years, he said.
"Aquaculture is really the only way to meet the gap
between supply and growing world demand for fish to
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