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Since 2005, FIMA has taken steps towards developing a consensus framework for an Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture  (EAA) as a major contribution to sustainable development.

An ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA) strives to balance diverse societal objectives, by taking account of the knowledge and uncertainties of biotic, abiotic and human components of ecosystems including their interactions, flows and processes and applying an integrated approach within ecologically and operationally meaningful boundaries.

The EAA should apply at the farm level, at the aquaculture geographic zone; at the industry and commodity level; and at the macro level (policy formulation).   The EAA should improve aquaculture sustainability through facilitating nutrient cycling while minimizing negative impacts at different intensity levels for example through polyculture/integrated aquaculture (eg. fish and mussels, fish and seaweeds) also allowing a broader use of ecosystems through enhancing or coupling with other activities such as fisheries (eg. aquaculture based fisheries) and agriculture (eg. rice fish farming).

Relevant Activities in the development of the EAA framework

 There will be several expert workshops mostly focusing on the develop of guidelines for policy making.

  • A new GESAMP working Group on Ecosystem Approach to Offshore Mariculture will hold several meetings in the next two years to develop and propose some guidelines for EAA offshore.
  • There are several regional and global reviews underway to provide information for analysis and discussion in these workshops; including reviews of the present situation of freshwater and marine aquaculture for major commodities and within potential EAA framework.
  • There are also some major reviews on integrated coastal mariculture as a major tool within the EAA perspective.

Various publications are foreseen including Proceedings of the workshops on EAA, Guidelines, GESAMP reports etc.

Environmental cost analysis in aquaculture

Aquaculture is now one of the fastest growing food producing sectors, but it is being criticized for creating adverse environmental impacts. However all food production systems have environmental costs and  therefore  is important to provide information and methodologies which  could be used to make development decisions that take into account these. This will help determine where public and private sector investments should be made to encourage the optimisation of food production at the national level; optimization refers to economic viability, environmental sustainability and social acceptability.

Responsible use of alien species

Alien species, are a proven method of increasing production and value from aquatic ecosystems. However, they are also recognized as one of the most significant threats to aquatic biodiversity. Policy makers must balance these benefits and risks to decide when an introduction may be appropriate. Toward this end FAO has developed a framework for the responsible use and control of alien species in fisheries and aquaculture. The framework consists of:

The Department has established a CD-ROM,  Introduced Species in Fisheries and Aquaculture: information for responsible use and control, available through the service or FAO distribution and sales.

Use and management of land and water resources for aquaculture

Comparative studies on resources use efficiency (methodologies and guidelines).


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