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Annex IV


Mr. S. Abe
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Mr. Chairman, Dr. Kasahara from FAO, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I take great pleasure in having this opportunity to extend my welcome address on behalf of the host nation on the occasion of the opening of the FAO Technical Conference on Aquaculture.

It is a genuine pleasure for us to see that this significant Conference is attended by a large number of experts, about 500, representing many countries.

As all of you are well aware, the regime of the seas of the world has been changing greatly for several years. While international effort is being made for the establishment of a new regime of the sea, people have come to recognize the importance of aquaculture and are showing rapidly increasing interest in it. Therefore, I believe that it is very timely, given the current world situation, to hold this Conference on a global scale thanks to the prominent leadership of FAO. We, as the host country, consider it our great privilege to offer our wholehearted cooperation to this wonderful event.

As you may realize, Japan has only limited cultivated land and is surrounded by sea. Therefore the people have been especially fond of seafoods since ancient times. Indeed, fish and shellfish are indispensable to our daily diet. Besides our favourite dishes like sashimi or tempura, which you may taste somewhere during your stay, we usually have in our daily menu fish, shellfish or seaweed in grilled, boiled or other processed forms. Demand for such products is still predominant among all the generations of our people, though young people tend to prefer meat to fish. Because of such a high demand for fishery products, Japan has developed into one of the major fishing countries in the world.

Aquaculture industry has been developing so far by breeding various kinds of fish, in order to make up for shortage in total catch of fish. For example, the total production in 1974 from marine fish culture amounted to 880 000 tons, which was a large increase, more than double compared with 380 000 tons in 1965. Likewise, the production from freshwater fish culture has doubled during the past decade. Fish now being cultivated are of various kinds, such as yellowtail, red snapper, oyster and scallop in sea water and carp, trout, sweetfish and eel in fresh water.

In parallel with fish and shellfish, seaweeds such as sea-tangle, “wakame” and laver are also being cultivated on a large scale. Like sandwiches which appeal to the taste of foreign people, rice balls wrapped in laver, dried and shaped like a sheet of paper, are very much liked for lunch when we Japanese go on a picnic or excursion.

Today in Japan “culture fishery” is being watched with particular interest as a course of future development of aquaculture. The National Aquacultural Centre in Seto Inland Sea, which is included in your Post-Conference Tour Programme, was founded by our Government 13 years ago in the Seto Inland Sea as a milestone toward further growth of aquaculture industry. The main activities of the Centre are to breed fry of prawns and sea breams through artificial propagation and stock them in the sea for the benefit of fishermen. Besides, a training course is provided for the fishermen to provide them with knowledge on the preservation of marine resources.

The idea is to regard the whole inland sea as a collective stock farm, stock it with fry every year and catch them after they grow in the sea. So far, attention has been drawn to this attempt as the most ideal system of fishery production utilizing the productive power of nature. Although there still remains much to be solved in this new attempt, I am very proud of the fact that this idea of “farming fishery” is now steadily developing and other similar centres are being established for this purpose in every part of this country.

With many such experiences in the field of aquaculture we are fully confident that we shall be able to do something to help further development of aquaculture in the rest of the world, especially through this international Conference. It is also our sincere desire to learn much about advanced technology of aquaculture from other nations. You may fully realize how keenly our people are interested in this field when you look around and see many Japanese participants attending the Conference.

Frankly speaking, at the same time I have to point out several problems involved in the future development of aquacultural fishery. First of all, the fishery area will be affected by pollution from sewage or industrial waste discharge into the sea as a result of rapid urban and industrial expansion. The next question is what we call deterioration of fishery which may arise in fish-farming grounds in the course of time due to excessive stocking of fish. The third one is related to increases of cost of feedstuffs, cost of manpower and other materials necessary for culture. And the final one is epidemic diseases of fish and their prevention, which I hear is being taken up worldwide as a vital problem. To help resolve these problems, combined efforts are being made at present by both government and private sectors involved. Any country may encounter similar problems when it endeavours to develop aquacultural fishery. I would like to emphasize in this connexion that it is absolutely essential to solve all of these problems in order to continue the production and exploitation of marine resources as planned on a long-term basis for the future. To achieve this purpose this Conference will, no doubt, play its very significant role.

In closing my address, I sincerely hope that the Conference will prove a very fruitful one as a result of lively discussions among all of you, who are outstanding experts in this field. I would also wish you a most enjoyable stay in Japan.

Thank you.

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