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Annex VI


Dr. H. Kasahara
Fishery Resources and Environment Division
Department of Fisheries

Mr. Minister, Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you, on behalf of the Director-General of FAO, to the FAO Technical Conference on Aquaculture. In terms of attendance this is perhaps the largest fishery meeting FAO has ever sponsored. We wish to express our gratitude to all countries that have sent participants to the meeting particularly in these times of financial constraints; and our special thanks for the excellent arrangements made by the host country, Japan. We have given the Japanese authorities a lot of headaches during the preparatory period and we will give more in the course of the Conference! Some of the governments, especially Canada and the U.S.A., have provided generous support to the holding of the Conference. Without such support FAO would have had great difficulties in organizing the meeting. We also thank the large number of people who have prepared background papers for the Conference. Many of them have also agreed to serve as session chairmen, panel members and rapporteurs. We thank these participants in advance for their contributions.

The size of the meeting is obviously an indication of the keen worldwide interest in aquaculture. There are many reasons for this. The rate of growth of fishery production based on familiar species is slowing down as more and more resources are fully exploited. The exploitation of vast resources of so-called unconventional species such as krill and meso-pelagic fishes is proceeding rather slowly. The rapidly changing regime of the sea makes uncertain the future of some of the major fisheries. It is therefore natural that growing attention is paid to aquaculture as a further means to increase the production of aquatic food. Aquaculture should not be considered as something that competes with capture fisheries. The two are complementary to each other. This is true not only in their relative roles in the overall picture of aquatic food production but also in actual practice. Particularly in inland fisheries, various forms of aquaculture are often closely interwoven with capture fisheries. It is sometimes difficult to draw a line between the two.

In many ways aquaculture is a unique field of food production. In some parts of the world it dates back many centuries but in others it is something very new. Aquaculture practices range from modest improvements in the environment in which aquatic animals live, through extensive forms of fish farming to highly sophisticated practices, including intensive pond and cage culture. A great variety of animals and plants are raised. Even for the types of aquaculture that have long been practised, it is only recently that such disciplines of science as genetics, nutrition and physiology have been brought into the picture.

The present state of aquaculture, recent progress, future prospects, as well as technological, social and economic constraints to be overcome, will be reviewed in the first session of the Conference. The Conference is expected to provide a cross-section of all aspects of aquaculture. Recommendations from this Conference on the ways and means to accelerate the development of aquaculture under varying conditions will serve, for some time to come, as a basis for the planning and implementation of many schemes in different parts of the world. The proceedings of the Conference will become one of the most important references in this field.

One of the reasons why Japan was chosen as host country is that it would provide an opportunity for the participants to see various forms of aquaculture practised in this part of the world. I hope many of you will participate in post-Conference tours arranged for this purpose.

I made my statement short to contribute a few precious minutes to the crowded schedule of the substantive part of the Conference. I wish all of you a very successful meeting.

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