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206. Following the presentations and discussions, and taking note of the environmental management options and suggestions arising from the deliberations of the inland and coastal aquaculture working groups, the workshop made the following recommendations:

For Governments:

207. It was recognised that there is a need to strengthen national policy for aquaculture development considering food security, social, economic, legal and environmental implications, including future scenarios, considerations of fiscal and monetary measures (e.g. incentives, credit, insurance) and land tenure arrangements. In cognisance of this the workshop recommended that governments should clearly identify the responsible agency for this task, with a view to promoting mechanisms for cooperation among government units and the public, including NGOs, in the various stages of aquaculture planning and operations.

208. In the light of the Government policies and priorities, as well as the aquaculture sector's need as expressed by government representatives, the workshop recommended that an appropriate legal framework to enhance management of aquaculture in relation to the environment be prepared to reduce regulatory inefficiencies and eventual administrative costs for the aquaculture industry. The consolidation of all laws pertaining and related to aquaculture into a single enactment should also be considered to make legislation accessible, comprehensive, beneficial to all concerned and enforceable. In relation to this action, governments are encouraged to:

  1. Identify the legal provisions which could constitute an appropriate starting point for the purposes of managing the environmental issues relating to aquaculture;

  2. Draft the appropriate amendments to the existing legislation or new legislative instruments, tailored specifically for the country within the context of its law;

  3. Develop mechanisms for co-ordination with government units and members of the public in all various stages of aquaculture planning and operations;

  4. Develop mechanisms for further improvement of legal provision in response to new developments and information made available.

209. In relation to the introduction of exotic aquatic species, the workshop recommended that such species should not be transferred, except in accordance with international codes of practice.

210. The workshop recommended that baseline surveys of aquaculture sites be undertaken before major aquaculture development and that environmental changes over a long-term period be determined through regular monitoring. Competitive use of resources, including land, water, seed, feed and infrastructure may be evaluated and channelled appropriately keeping the national policies and priorities in view.

211. It is recommended that standard methodologies for aquaculture and environmental research be adopted, with the assistance of international organisations as necessary, to facilitate exchange of data and other information between government organisations.

212. National governments should make efforts, with the assistance of international organisations as required, to protect spawning and nursery grounds and to identify and establish protected areas for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity.

213. The workshop recommended further development of human resources, to encompass the skills required for the planning and operational management of aquaculture in relation to the environment, with emphasis on:

  1. Farmers and private sector organisations, particularly in sensitising farmers to the issues involved and in avoiding and dealing with farm level technical problems. Consideration should be given at the farm level to development of schemes for certification of technical competence;

  2. Extension workers and others (government and non-government personnel) involved in assisting farmers at local levels. The development of technical qualifications through appropriate vocational, or even graduate level, education is to be encouraged;

  3. Policy makers and planners involved with the planning of aquaculture development, and natural resources management, to increase awareness of the issues involved, and of mechanisms and choices involved in dealing with problems in major aquatic resource systems;

  4. Research scientists -- strengthening of human resources in national research institutions to properly deal with the various environmental issues related to aquaculture development, and integrated aquatic resource management.

214. As the specific needs at the national level for human resource development in relation to aquaculture and the environment have not been properly defined, and will vary from country to country, the workshop recommended that emphasis should be given towards properly defining these requirements.

215. To transfer further information on the environmental aspects of aquaculture development to government and private sectors, including NGOs, private voluntary organisations and educational institutes, both inside and outside of the aquaculture sector, it is recommended that emphasis should be given towards properly defining these requirements.

216. To transfer further information on the environmental aspects of aquaculture development to government and private sectors, including NGOs, private voluntary organisations and educational institutes, both inside and outside of the aquaculture sector, it is recommended that some relevant and existing information could be usefully compiled and built on by ongoing research. Information needs of the different groups are as follows:

  1. For policy makers, planners and senior managers involved in resource management - information in the form of easily readable and digestible texts, highlighting major issues relating to aquaculture and the environment, policy and planning guidelines related to major aquaculture systems and environments;

  2. For researchers - environmental research methodologies, including standard methods and relevant parameters to be used in research and environmental monitoring related to aquaculture and the environment;

  3. For local level planners, private sector entrepreneurs, extension personnel and farmers - practical environmental management strategies for aquaculture, covering the planning and operational practices for environmentally sound development.

217. The workshop recommended that environmental awareness and responsibility among farmers and manufacturers of chemicals or feeds be enhanced. Farmers are likely to be receptive to technically feasible and socially acceptable solutions which enhance economic returns. However, it is necessary to clearly identify problems before solutions are devised. Thus, further special efforts should be made at national and local levels to:

  1. Establish close contact with farmers, and where possible, provide immediate response to their needs;

  2. Compile existing experiences on the environmental management of aquaculture at farm level as a basis for preparation of practical basic level texts;

  3. Explore means of more efficiently channelling such information to farmers. The mechanisms for dissemination of information to farmers should also be addressed in preparing such reviews, including private enterprises, farmer groups, NGOs and other relevant organisations.

218. To support national aquaculture policy development, it is recommended that governments should consider strengthening research on the following subject areas:

  1. Environmental impacts of inland and coastal aquaculture systems, with emphasis on the understanding of environmental problems at the farm level;

  2. Assimilative capacities (acceptable levels of resource exploitation) of tropical and sub-tropical coastal environments and inland lakes and reservoirs for aquaculture;

  3. Understanding of processes leading to eutrophication, quantification and impact;

  4. Allocation of resources, user rights, and cost-benefits associated with utilisation of land and water resources in aquaculture, vis-à-vis other alternative uses, utilising methodologies of economic valuation and environmental accounting;

  5. Effluent standards, environment quality standards and monitoring systems appropriate to the different aquaculture systems and aquaculture environments and integration of aquaculture-related monitoring into broader aquatic pollution monitoring efforts;

  6. Reduction of negative environmental impacts of aquaculture effluent, including integrated aquaculture and polyculture systems and the application of appropriate biological and other methods for treatment/utilisation of aquaculture effluent, including assessment of current systems;

  7. Rehabilitation of abandoned culture areas to productive use;

  8. Assessment of environmental and public health risks related to, and reduction of any negative environmental impacts of, aquaculture chemicals and use of alternative substances, especially from indigenous plant materials;

  9. Assessment and reduction of public health risks associated with aquaculture products;

  10. Interactions between aquaculture and enhanced fisheries and indigenous fish stocks, including the question of exotic fish species, pathogen transfer and genetic interactions;

  11. Promotion of aquaculture using indigenous species, including rearing, nursing and other technical aspects;

  12. The effects of aquatic pollution, soil changes and habitat degradation on aquaculture species, including lethal and sub-lethal effects;

  13. Water quality management of aquaculture systems, for maintaining optimal conditions for cultured stock and to reduce negative impacts of effluent;

  14. Policy research on strategies for incorporation of incentives and disincentives for reducing environmental impacts of aquaculture:

  15. Research on red tides, algal blooms and other disease-causing organisms in coastal and inland waters, their impact on aquaculture and human health, and preventative measures;

  16. Impacts associated with increasing use of natural seed resources in aquaculture on ecological balance and recruitment to fisheries.

Farmers and supporting industries:

219. The workshop recommended that farmers should be made aware of environmental issues related to aquaculture development and encouraged to monitor water quality changes in the farm and economics of farm operation to enable evaluation and improvement.

220. It was recommended that farmers should be encouraged to form democratically organised and representative groups, committed to expanding farmers education on environmentally sound farming practices. Such groups would also provide a forum for consultation among academics, governments, producers, and support industries to exchange experiences and find ways to solve or avoid environmental problems.

221. The workshop recommended that appropriate mechanisms be established for interaction with government agencies, research institutions and extensions agencies for information on technologies for environmental monitoring and management at the farm level, and appropriate husbandry practices.

222. In relation to research, the workshop recommended that farmers be encouraged to participate in research, and governments should engage them in more on-farm and outreach research.

International organisations:

223. International organisations are encouraged to include in their investments and programmes activities to support the formulation or reorientation of national aquaculture policy giving higher priority to environmental management and resource protection issues.

224. Further strengthening of regional and international co-operation is recommended as necessary to enhance the effectiveness of efforts in the management of aquaculture in relation to the environment, including both natural resources and economic valuation of environmental impacts.

225. At regional level, NACA should take a leading role in the exchange of information, research cooperation and training on the various issues related to aquaculture and the environment, in co-operation with other regional and international organisations, including FAO. Among the priority actions to be taken by NACA at the regional level are:

  1. Strengthening of existing regional information systems is required, to provide information to governments on topics related to environment and aquaculture development, including collation, evaluation and proven technology on pollution prevention/treatment; red tide occurrences, impacts and toxicity; criteria for determining quality standards for seed and feed; and codes of practice such as the Codex Alimentarius for aquaculture processes and products. National Environment Co-ordinators could be the designated national focal points for such a regional system;

  2. Preparation of standard methodologies for environmental monitoring of aquaculture, including water quality and other relevant parameters. This should be done in close cooperation with other regional and global efforts, including those of UPEND, IMO and others;

  3. Consider establishment of specialist working groups, to enhance exchange of information, review environmental problems, and the preparation of suitable guidelines and ongoing recommendations to governments and the private sector;

  4. Assistance to countries in the preparation of baseline environmental surveys for major aquaculture areas;

  5. Establishment of a group of specialists (or “task force”) to assist governments, as requested, in meeting the various priority needs as identified by the workshop, particularly in defining regional research and training requirements and priorities.

226. The workshop recommended that the regional efforts undertaken by NACA could be assisted by FAO and through the establishment of links with other international organisations with relevant activities, including ICU, GESAMP, ICES, WHO, WWF and others. Such organisations would help in the transfer of potentially relevant information to the region, although care should be exercised in the direct transfer of such experiences, as the information may not always be strictly relevant.

227. International organisations were recommended to support a regional project involving detailed case studies or local area planning exercises where countries would study, develop and implement integrated management of aquaculture systems, covering economic, legal and environmental aspects. The case studies could be conducted with participating countries adopting specific resource system/locations of regional interest. Such regional research initiatives should include a strong element of training in the design and implementation of the studies. Emphasis should be on the implementation. Following an analysis of relevant environmental issues, and their social, economic, institutional and legal setting -- using rapid assessment methodologies -- management plans could be developed for the integration of aquaculture into the different resource systems.

228. The workshop recommended that international organisations, including SIFR (Strategy for International Fisheries Research), should support the following regional research projects. The workshop also recommended that SIFR be informed of these research priorities and be requested to motivate donor agencies to divert funding to the region for their implementation.

  1. Assessment of the impacts of from introductions of exotic aquatic species, with the view to assisting the governments in the formulation of policy and action on transfer and introduction of exotics;

  2. Development of common methodologies and techniques for addressing the environmental issues related to aquaculture development;

  3. Studies on the magnitude of mangrove destruction in relation to measurable/quantifiable impacts on environmental, social and economic aspects, including fisheries, and evaluation of the effects of replanting mangroves in restoration of the coastal ecosystem;

  4. Screening, selection, development and management of disease-free broodstock of major species of the region for production of specific pathogen free seed;

  5. Impacts of drugs and chemicals on the environment, including product quality and public health;

  6. Nutrient requirement studies for important economic culture species in the region, and the formulation of quality standards for feeds.

229. To conserve genetic resources, it was recommended that international organisations should consider assistance to governments in establishing national centres for (in situ and ex situ) germplasm collection and maintenance. The national centres could also be promoted as regional or sub-regional centres for maintenance and exchange of germplasm which may be common to two or more countries. Such centres could also serve as a source of germplasm for future introductions.

230. The following regional training programmes were recommended as of immediate relevance:

  1. Identification and incorporation of environmental issues into aquaculture policy planning, including legal aspects (for government policy makers);

  2. Assessment and management of environmental impacts of aquaculture development, integrated management of inland and coastal waters (for scientists, planners and resource managers);

  3. Environmental management of aquaculture, including water quality management (scientists, farmers, resource managers). The training should have a problem based approach (identification and diagnosis at the farm level) and be targeted at training trainers, and extension workers.

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