Aquaculture, the world’s fastest growing food production sector, provides affordable nutritious food fish to poor and vulnerable communities in the developing world, and also contributes to foreign earnings of many countries through high value, exportoriented production. The sector, which is dominated by small-scale farmers, employs about 23 million people worldwide.
Since the launch of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in 1995, FAO has developed an array of technical guidelines to provide advice and guidance for sustainable development of aquaculture. Countries have found these guidelines effective and useful, and many have incorporated them into national legal frameworks. Sustainable development of the sector is evident from the fact that the contribution of aquaculture to global food fish consumption has risen from 20 percent in 1995 to nearly 50 percent today.
If you wish to become a partner in a specific activity, or are simply looking for more information, please see the section below for some of the key programmes which fall under this IFA, and where further resources are required for follow-up actions.
It is now generally recognized that in many cases fishery resources have been overexploited and are often being dangerously depleted, that damage to habitats and the environment has often contributed to declines in fishery resources and that re-establishing fish stocks will only be possible if critical habitats and environmental systems are restored as well. In 2001 more than 50 countries attending the Reykjavik Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem agreed that an ecosystem approach to fisheries was essential for sustainable and productive fisheries.
What FAO has done: In order to facilitate the implementation of the Ecosystems approach, FAO developed a set of technical guidelines in 2003 aimed at assisting countries to gradually take account of the impact of fisheries on the ecosystem and the impact of the ecosystem on fisheries. It has organized workshops and seminars and launched specific initiatives in order to implement ecosystems-based management at national and regional levels.
For example, bycatch reduction devices and turtle excluder devices, which FAO has introduced to help to tackle the problems of the tropical shrimp trawl fisheries which are responsible for 62% of all global discarded catch. Despite the fact that the landed catch is only around 2% by weight of the global landings, shrimp trawling contributes at least $3 billion in international trade from developing countries to developed countries. On average, for each kilo of shrimp landed, 1.65 kg of bycatch is netted and discarded, but the ratio can be much higher in fisheries where bycatch reduction devices have not been introduced (up to 20 kilos of discards for each kilo of shrimp).
If left unmanaged, tropical shrimp trawling will continue to have a detrimental effect on populations of other marine resources (including non-fish species such as turtles), leading to a decline in marine biodiversity and productivity.
FAO, with UNEP and GEF, carried out in-depth case studies which led to the production of technical guidelines on bycatch management. Work has concentrated on the tropical shrimp trawling regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Near East and Asia, and has already been successful in the Philippines, Mexico, the Caribbean, Venezuela and Thailand. This work focuses on the introduction of more appropriate fishing technologies, improved legislation and improved management frameworks (including control and enforcement strategies). Activities include workshops, training sessions, and demonstrations. Success depends on adopting participatory approaches - from fishing communities to industry and actively promotes technology transfer.
In the countries supported, bycatch decreased by between 30-70% and savings in fuel consumption of around 20% were achieved.
Subsequently FAO went on establish global guidelines for bycatch management and reduction of fishing discards for the fishing industry as a whole. This is intended to greatly reduce the up to 20 million tonnes of unwanted fish and animals caught each year and afford better protection of marine systems.
What Next? FAO needs increased donor funding to help build on the successes achieved so far, and specifically for:
· Development and promotion of Low Impact Fuel Efficient [LIFE] fish capture techniques;
· Development of Bycatch Management Plans associated with the current global instrument being developed by FAO and member countries;
· Development of methodologies to monitor and reduce GHG emissions in the fisheries and aquaculture sector;
· Develop practical national/regional tools, methodologies and best practice guidelines for ecosystems planning and implementation in fisheries and aquaculture
Globally almost 120 million people are directly dependent on capture fisheries for their livelihoods. Ninety-six percent of them live in developing countries (116 million) and the vast majority of fishers and fish workers (109 million) are employed in the small-scale sector. Almost half of the workforce, 57 million, consists of women. But small-scale fisheries have received relatively little attention either internationally or from national governments. This has resulted in a lack of coherent, reliable and accessible information on the sector.
What FAO has done: Acquiring and providing information on the value of fisheries for food security and resource management at global level is one of the core functions of FAO’s Fisheries department, which has been running several projects to that end, including:
· FAO’s FishCode STF project supports the improvement of the availability of information with special emphasis on small scale fisheries through partnerships with regional fisheries organizations and national institutes. In West Africa such partnerships have led to significant improvement of basic data on marine small- scale fisheries and to harmonization of data collection in the region. In Nicaragua improved information was used to include fisheries in the national food security policy
· Studies on the role of women in the inland and marine fisheries sectors, including microfinance in fisheries and aquaculture, livelihoods and micro enterprise development opportunities for women in communities in India. Such studies have informed policy makers at all levels and have led to greater awareness of the role of women in the fishing sector. FAO, after wide consultation in the Asia-Pacific, African and Latin American regions, now has a global programme which includes a rights-based approach underpinned by human rights charters and instruments and which provides for user access rights to resources and rights to assistance after disasters. Gender is mainstreamed at FAO and in its interventions and the important role of women in the fisheries sector is consistently integrated.
· Capacity building in collecting information on small-scale fisheries is a major issue and in November 2010 FAO supported the development of a regional training course in collaboration with the Legon University, Accra, Ghana.
· Alternative approachesin line with the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics have been promoted. Recently fisheries were included in the Agriculture household census of Laos.
· The Hidden Harvest study was carried out in collaboration with the World Bank and the World Fish Center to update the global profile of small-scale fisheries.
· Similar activities and development of a sub-regional training course are planned for East Africa in collaboration with the Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission and sub-regional economic bodies;
· Support the development of a training course in China, from where 30 percent of all fish comes;
· Information on inland fisheries and small-scale aquaculture is highly uncertain so FAO will support the development of new approaches to assess the value of the sectors.
Developing countries contribute up to 50 percent in value to international fish trade. This affects positively their economies by improving the wealth extracted from the fishery’s resource, creating millions of employment opportunities and generating foreign exchange income. However, many of these developing countries rely significantly on small-scale fisheries and aquaculture for fish supply. Given that over 70 percent of global fish export is destined to 3 major markets (European Union, United States of America and Japan) with elaborated market access requirements, export of small-scale operators is increasingly constrained by these requirements, in particular standards for consumer protection, sustainability, environment protection and social responsibility.
What FAO has done: FAO has helped five countries in West Africa – Benin, Gambia, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone – to improve hygiene and fish handling practices all along the value chain and comply with international market requirements. The fish producers, handlers, processors and inspectors were trained on issues related to the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement and international regulations.
A technical and trade database for improving international fish trade was developed using the participatory approach and made available to the countries. During the course of the implementation of the project in 2009-2010, three of the countries, Benin, Mauritania and Senegal, were successful in being included in the list of countries authorized to export fish and fishery products to the European Union and significant progress was made by Gambia and Sierra Leone.
An ongoing project between FAO and the Norwegian Development agency analyses the distribution of benefits in small-scale fisheries value-chainsand linkages between benefits obtained and the design of the chain. The object is to understand better how developing countries can increase earnings from their fishery resources and from their exports. The project includes 10 case studies from selected developing countries and two studies from the small-scale sector in developed countries. In the project, FAO brings together inter-disciplinary experience from all the world’s regions and its ability to involve stakeholders from the small-scale sector, from governments and from academia.
A landmark FAO projectcompleted in 2007 helped strengthen national capacities in sanitary control and responsible utilization of fish products around Lake Chad and on the Chari Logone River in Chad. The project contributed to the development and dissemination of improved fish preservation and processing technologies and to introducing an innovative approach to overcoming the technical and socio-economic constraints based by small scale fisheries operators. Professional associations were strengthened, as well as the operational capacities of post-harvest operators through training and pilot demonstrations. This led to greater profits through increased value-addition following improvement in the quality of processed fish and reduction of post-harvest losses. This project received the Edward Saouma 2008-2009 Award.
· Analysis of current market access constraints, including a gender perspective, both at local level and with regard to requirements in regional and international export markets;
· Development of appropriate communication systems for market information;
· Assess the context of the occurrence of post-harvest losses and support the development of technologies for low-cost value added products, their adoption by the disadvantaged groups within fishing and aquaculture communities and facilitate the establishment of commercial partnerships. This will be done in the Africa region, in collaboration with AGS, AfDB, and some core regional institutions. In 2006-2008 FAO headed a regional programme on post-harvest fish loss assessment in Africa which produced tangible outputs. The design and implementation of any sustainable loss reduction intervention would highly benefit from this experience and the tools produced;
· In regional project CFC/FSCFT/29 FAO and regional partners aim to encourage sustainable utilization of freshwater fish resources in five target countries through appropriate product/market diversification strategies, taking note of the food security and wellbeing of the populations as a whole and inland communities in the target countries in particular;
· A regional TCP/RAS/3302 in South Asia would support improvement of fish handling practices and development of value addition for fish caught by long lines;
· Training and support to organizational and capacity development with special emphasis on women and marginalized post-harvest workers
· Development and dissemination of information material and best practices.
The dynamic nature of the land-water interface makes the fisheries sector danger-prone at the best of times but it is becoming increasingly vulnerable because of the heightened incidence of hazards and events linked to climate changes.
What FAO has done: In addressing the problem, FAO is currently US$30 million of projects in 25 countries. FAO is working with national governments to integrate fisheries and aquaculture into disaster risk management and climate change adaptation strategies and plans and to enhance capacities within communities and local and national administrations for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.
For example, in Saint Lucia, FAO work is helping government staff to update and implement national risk mitigation policies and provide technical assistance to communities. FAO is also promoting community-based risk mitigation approaches involving farmers and fishers directly affected by disasters as well as representatives of other vulnerable groups. It is also helping improve capacities for vulnerability mapping and damage assessment.
In Myanmar, FAO has trained local boat builders, NGOs and others to build safer, more stable boats taking traditional practices as a starting point. 200 safer boats were completed.
In Sri Lanka, 50 community-managed landing sites were built to an improved design that reduces risk.
In Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Haiti, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia and DRC, FAO has supported governments and partners in assessing damage and in recovery planning.
At global level, FAO’s secretariat role has been essential in the development and support of best practice international guidelines for fisheries and aquaculture. Guidelines, such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, adopted by COFI in 1995 have had considerable impact on world fisheries management by both developed and developing countries.
FAO’s secretariat role has also been crucial in launching and supporting the development of networks. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department has been providing the secretariat to the Global Partnership for Climate, Fisheries and Aquaculture (PaCFA) since 2009. PaCFA is a voluntary partnership comprising 20 international organiations and sector bodies sharing a common concern for climate change impacts on global waters and living resources as well as their social and economic consequences.
· To develop the capacity of fishing communities in selected countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to cope with the impact of climate change and enhance resilience against disasters through support to local and national authorities. A minimum of USD 5 million for 4 countries is needed;
· To develop a community of practice, or network, to support disaster risk management and Climate Change adaptation in fisheries and aquaculture. USD 5 million over three years is needed;
· To develop best practice guidance and standards in disaster risk management – including cyclones, tsunamis, floods, oil spills and nuclear emergencies – and to strengthen emergency response through international expert consultations. Guidance and standards cover key areas such as: marine capture fisheries; inland fisheries; coastal, marine and inland fish farming; post-harvest and processing; policy and recovery planning. USD 2 million is needed.
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