The Workshop reviewed the principal aspects of marketing and utilization of aquaculture production and discussed in detail the salient features to be incorporated in the individual country plans for aquaculture development. There was a general consensus that the demand for fish in Asia was very strong, that it exceeded supplies, and that there were no constraints for aquaculture development from this angle, in particular because capture fisheries could not be expected to yield enough to match projected future demands. However, in countries planning a significant increase of aquaculture production such as India, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, it was deemed necessary to take due account of the marketing structure and logistics required. These may differ according to the production systems involved and the markets supplied (whether rural areas, urban centres or export markets).
Fish marketing organizations or other government agencies involved in fish marketing exist in several countries of the Asian region and it should be possible for these to undertake the marketing of farmed fish and shellfish. This particularly applies to India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. In the other countries the existing trade channels were reported to be adequate to handle increased production through aquaculture. Some instances of localized overproduction, such as of catfish in Thailand, have been overcome through the relocation and streamlining of production.
The consumer acceptance of aquaculture products has been greatly enhanced by their steady availability in the fresh or cured state. It was pointed out that specific consumer education and promotion programmes may not always be required, but availability and effective marketing may largely reduce consumer resistance, if there is any.
In certain areas in the Asian region the bulk of aquaculture production for domestic consumption would mainly be destined for the lower income market segment, hence production and marketing costs have to be kept at conforming low levels. Specific information relating to the operations and costs of processing and marketing of aquaculture products would be of considerable value in this connexion.
The Workshop was of the view that marketing of aquaculture products could be organized within the existing fish marketing systems in the countries of the region. However, as output increase becomes substantial, expansion of capacities and extension of operations would become necessary. With increasing magnitude of the aquaculture sector, marketing of seed, feed and other inputs could also warrant Specific arrangements.
In some of the countries of the region, aquaculture production for export purposes is gaining importance. The expansion of processing facilities and quality control will be of special significance in promoting this sector. Further, information on product specification, prices and markets should also be made available to the industry on a continuing basis.