During discussions on almost all aspects relating to aquaculture, the Workshop underlined the need for national policies and appropriate legal framework to facilitate the establishment and management of aquaculture enterprises as well as the processing and marketing of aqua-culture products. Land reform and land consolidation acts introduced in some of the countries in the region have proved mostly beneficial to aquaculture development. Limits imposed on land holdings generally do not extend to water bodies. Where the existing laws limit the area of land that can be owned by a farmer, it is necessary to examine the limitations against the minimum size of aquafarms for economic production. If the permissible area falls short of minimum requirements and exemptions cannot be obtained, the possibility of introducing cooperative farming will have to be considered.
Poaching and willful destruction of aquaculture stocks through use of fish poisons and pesticides are reported to be major problems in certain areas. Suitable legal measures have to be adopted to protect the ownership rights of farmers, and enforce deterrent action to protect the stocks.
For the establishment and expansion of the aquaculture industry, various types of incentives have to be offered to investors and farmers, such as subsidies, grants, tax holidays, tax exemptions, import privileges, etc. Enabling laws may be required for this purpose or existing laws extended to cover aquaculture practices as well. There is a close similarity between the requirements of agriculture and aquaculture insofar as legal provisions and incentives are concerned, and efforts should therefore be made to extend relevant clauses of laws relating to agriculture to aquaculture. If joint ventures with foreign partners have to be established, special legislative measures may be required or provisions for joint ventures in industry have to be made applicable to aquaculture, with necessary modifications.
The need for enforcing quality control on aquaculture products destined for export has already been referred to. Legal measures may be required for this purpose as well as for application of environmental protection measures.
Pesticide pollution is one of the major environmental threats to the aquaculture industry in Asia, and ricefield fish culture has been particularly affected by this problem. Also fish farms situated near ricefields have been affected by drainage from them, or through the use of common water supplies. It was noted that at least some of the countries had prohibited the use of persistent pesticides with a view to protecting fish stocks. Efforts underway in countries such as Indonesia to study the effects of pesticide pollution on fish, including their accumulation in fish tissues, were noted and the need for similar studies in other countries was emphasized. Domestic and industrial pollution is also a major concern in countries like Thailand, the Philippines and Hong Kong and urgent measures are needed to protect aquaculture from its effects.
There are undoubtedly other possible uses for aquaculture sites and decision-making insofar as their use is concerned should be based on economic, social and environmental considerations. The reclamation of mangrove swamps for coastal aquaculture has received some attention in this regard and the Workshop noted with interest that the forthcoming Workshop on Mangrove Ecology organized by the Thai National Research Council with the support of Unesco in Phuket, Thailand, 1-6 December 1975, would discuss among other things the ecological effects of using mangrove swamps for aquaculture purposes. It is hoped that the alleged dependence of shrimp fisheries on mangroves, which has not so far been substantiated, will be critically examined by this seminar.