FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Countries discuss methods to progress pond aquaculture

Europe and the Caucasus are rich in lakes and rivers, which have provided food, income, and recreational and leisure opportunities for centuries, including a long history of European fish farming. Starting today, a five-day FAO workshop will present the current state of pond aquaculture in Western Europe and contribute to its development in Central-Eastern Europe and the Caucasus through knowledge transfer.

Jointly organized by the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and FAO, and funded by the Czech Republic,the regional workshop is a good example of triangular cooperation.

The training aims to raise awareness of modern technologies and scientific techniques for breeding and rearing of freshwater fish. Participants from Eastern Europe, West Balkans, and the Caucasus will learn about the latest farming methods and technologies used in pond aquaculture, as well as share policy-related experiences and good practices in conservation of genetic aquatic resources.

“The biennial theme of FAO for the upcoming period focuses on healthy diets and good nutrition, and fish are an important component of a balanced diet,” said Victoria Chomo, FAO’s senior fishery and aquaculture officer. “In this region, there is still a lot to be done in raising awareness of the health benefits from eating more fish, as per capita fish consumption in the target region is only about one-third of the global average.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the Sustainable Development Goal 14, focuses specifically on ocean and sea environments. Freshwater aquaculture can make a significant contribution to sustainable development by relieving pressure on marine fish stocks through its contribution to global food supplies and providing livelihoods for river and lake communities of Europe. Extra efforts from countries and international organizations are required to ensure preservation, conservation and development of freshwater resources.

Under pressure by environmental changes and human activities, fish habitats in Europe have been degraded, stocks depleted, and some traditional varieties are close to disappearing. Informed decision-making on fish production impacts the resilience, productivity, and genetic diversity of the inland aquatic habitat in the long term.

In Vodňany, extensive and intensive pond aquaculture methods will be discussed in detail as one of the sustainable and low-cost solutions that reconcile interests of fish farming, tourism, and the recreational sector. Pond aquaculture offers a way to restock native fish species that may be preferred by sport fishers.

The workshop will conclude with a visit to a local functioning fish farm, to provide a hands-on experience for the representatives of the nine participating countries, namely Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine.

30 September 2019, Vodňany, Czech Republic