FAO Home>Fisheries & Aquaculture
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger
  1. Profile
    1. Basic legislation
    2. Legal definition
    3. Guidelines and codes of conduct
    4. International arrangements
  2. Planning
    1. Authorization system
    2. Access to land and water
    3. EIA
  3. Operation
    1. Water and wastewater
    2. Fish movement
    3. Disease control
    4. Drugs
    5. Feed
  4. Food safety
    1. Miscellaneous
      1. References
        1. Legislation
        2. Related resources
      2. Related links
        Basic legislation
        The competent authority for fisheries and aquaculture management at national level is the Department of Livestock and Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

        Policies, plans and legislation concerning the management of wildlife shall be prepared by the Ministry and issued by the Council of Ministers, as established by the Decree of the Council of Ministers on the Management and Protection of Wild Animals, Fisheries, Hunting and Fishing (1989). The Ministry has a regulatory power in these matters. According to the Water and Water Resources Law (1996), the Government shall promote the development and protection of water and aquatic resources. The Government is also responsible for planning the use of said resources and for determining their equitable and sustainable distribution.

        Fisheries and aquaculture are considered and regulated as agricultural activities under the Law on Agriculture (1998).
        Legal definition
        The term “aquaculture” is not found in Laotian legislation, which rather uses phrases such as:
        Guidelines and codes of conduct
        Being a member of ASEAN, Laos embraces the codes of conduct adopted by the Association. The Manual of ASEAN Good Shrimp Farm Management Practices   was adopted at the 20th Meeting of ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) held in Hanoi, Thailand, in 1998. The ASEAN has also published two other guidelines on fisheries, namely the Manual on Practical Guidelines for the Development of High Health Penaeus monodon Broodstock   and the Harmonization of Hatchery Production of Penaeus monodon in ASEAN Countries  .
        International arrangements
        Lao People's Democratic Republic is an observer government to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a member to both the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which promotes cooperation for the development of aquaculture through the ASEAN Ministerial Understanding on Fisheries Cooperation (1983)  , and the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

        Lao People's Democratic Republic is also a party by accession to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and since 2004, to both the Biosafety Protocol and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

        With regard to regional arrangements, Lao People's Democratic Republic has signed the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin (1995) between riparian countries (Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Viet Nam and Thailand), which establishes the Mekong River Commission.

        Moreover, as part of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC), Lao People's Democratic Republic participates not only in the several Departmental Programmes on aquaculture, but also in the SEAFDEC-ASEAN programmes, which include the promotion of mangrove-friendly aquaculture and the regionalization of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

        Lastly, Lao People's Democratic Republic is a participating (non-member) government to NACA, the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific that was created in 1988.
        Authorization system
        Authorizations for the conduct of aquaculture are issued according to the Law on Land (1997) and to the Water and Water Resources Law. Different permits are required for setting up on-shore or off-shore farms, and for the construction of facilities, ponds or reservoirs (see § on access to land and water below).
        Access to land and water
        The Law on Agriculture classifies agricultural land in two categories: land for cultivation and land for raising animals. The latter includes the “land upon which a pond can be dug for raising aquatic animals”. The ownership of land being vested in the State, land use is granted to farmers on a contractual basis. A land use contract form is available on the FAOLEX database. According to the Law on Land (1997), land use rights are granted for a maximum period of 30 years. Concerning the use of land for aquaculture purposes, the Law establishes that individuals and families may be granted a maximum of 1 ha of land per working person.

        According to the Law on Land, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for the management of land adjacent to waterbodies (“water-area land”), in coordination with the local administrative authority. The Water Resource Management Organization and the Science, Technology and Environment Organization may investigate on the use of such lands. Activities which did not have any negative impact on the area shall not be terminated. The Law does not describe the procedure for termination of the land use right. Lease and transfer of land use rights are only admitted for those areas that have already been put into productive use.

        Access to water and aquatic resources, which are a property of the State, is regulated by the Water and Water Resources Law. It should be noted that, in the Law, the definition of water resources includes living aquatic species such as fish and aquatic weed. Aquaculture is not explicitly mentioned in the purposes of water resources use, but can be considered as included under fishery and agricultural production. Small scale use of water resources does not require any authorization. This embraces activities such as fishing and other uses of aquatic biodiversity. Conversely, a permit is required for medium and large scale uses of water resources. Permits for medium scale uses, which comprise the construction of ponds or reservoirs for fisheries and the extraction of aquatic weed, must be issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, whereas a governmental permit is required for large scale uses. The latter applies to the construction of facilities and industrial plants across or near by water resources and to water use for industrial production and operation of processing plants in general. Only large scale water use permits are subject to registration and to presentation of a feasibility study, which includes an environmental impact study, a sociological study and a project plan. The study must indicate the measures to be taken to avoid any negative effect.
        The 1991 Constitution provides that “[a]ll organisations and citizens must protect the environment and natural resources: land, underground, forests, fauna, water sources and atmosphere”. A general duty to protect the environment is also established in the Law on Agriculture.

        The main authority in the field of environmental matters is the Science, Technology and Environment Organization (also translated as Science, Technology and Environment Agency). Under the terms of the Environmental Protection Law (1999), any project or activity that may potentially affect the environment is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment. An Environmental Impact Report must be submitted according to the rules issued by the Science, Technology and Environment Organization, as implemented by the relevant sectoral authority. Hence the Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of implementing the EIA rules concerning aquaculture projects.

        Lastly, as mentioned in § on access to land and water above, permits for large scale use of water resources are subject to the presentation of an environmental impact study to the Ministry of Agriculture.
        Water and wastewater
        A reference to water quality in aquaculture is found in the Law on Agriculture, which provides that “care should be taken to avoid putrid water endangering the environment”.

        Wastewater treatment is mentioned in the Water and Water Resources Law and the discharge of wastewater is regulated by the Provisions on the Discharge of Wastewater from Factories (1994) and the Regulation on Industrial Waste Discharge (1994), both issued by the of the Minister of Industry and Handicraft. Although these provisions are virtually applicable to any production business, fish canning is the only activity involving aquatic species to be explicitly mentioned.
        Fish movement
        The only provisions on imports and exports of animals are found in the Decree on the Management and Protection of Wild Animals, Fisheries, Hunting and Fishing, which provides that the import and export of live wild animals, dead animals, their bodies or parts thereof are subject to the granting of:
        • An authorization for removal.
        • A certificate of origin.
        • A health certificate.
        No further information is given.
        Disease control
        This matter is not tackled in the reviewed legislation.
        As established by the Law on Agriculture, the use of veterinary drugs shall be regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture, in coordination with the Science, Technology and Environment Organization, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance. No other provision was found.
        The Law on Agriculture empowers the Ministry of Agriculture to regulate the use of animal feed, in coordination with the Science, Technology and Environment Organization, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance. No other provision was found.
        Food safety
        The Food and Medicine Control Committee (FMCC) is the sole state authoritative organization for the management and quality certification of food products, as stated by both the Provisions on Quality Control of Domestically Circulated Foodstuff (1991) and the Provisions on Quality Control of Domestically Produced Food Products (1991).
        Aquaculture investment 
        The Law on the Promotion and Management of Foreign Investment in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (1994) allows foreign investment in activities related to agriculture. No specific reference is made to aquaculture.

        Aquaculture development:

        The Water and Water Resources Law states that the Government shall encourage the development of reservoirs for agriculture, forestry and livestock production through the granting of financial benefits, such as tax exemption and credit. This seems to include aquaculture, which is counted among agricultural activities in the Law on Agriculture.
        Related resources

        faolexSearch parameters: country=LAO, Keywords=aquaculture;mariculture
        Records Returned: 2
        Title of textDate of textConsolidated dateEntry into forceCountries
        Fisheries Law No. 03/NA.2009-07-09Lao, People's Dem. Rep.

        Plan of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Agriculture (2014-2016).20142014-2016Lao, People's Dem. Rep.

        Related links
        Country profiles: Lao People's Democratic Republic
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