Inland fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific
Production by inland fisheries in the Asia-Pacific registered remarkable growth in the 1990s. The lack of accurate reporting for many such fisheries makes it difficult to describe their status, but generally they are considered to be under considerable pressure from loss and degradation of habitat and over-fishing, according to FAO.
The growth in aquaculture has been particularly strong over the past 10 years, with much of this driven by production in China. Even excluding China's figures, however, production increases by aquaculture have doubled since 1990.
Carps and barbs remain the dominant freshwater species and marine shrimp (Penaeids) continue to dominate crustacean culture. Recently, the culture of white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei, introduced from South America) has increased, especially in China and south- and southeast Asia. With the increasing production of this species there have been price instabilities and trade disagreements over allegations of dumping. Production of aquatic plants and molluscs continued to increase, although site limitations are expected to constrain this in the future.
Continued expansion of aquaculture is possible in the region, but the land and water resources required are increasingly constrained. At last week's APFIC meeting, FAO emphasized the need to identify and develop alternatives to fish meal as aquaculture feeds, since this resource is finite and possibly already at a point where further increases are unlikely.
e-mail this article