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5.1 Government policy in the region
5.2 Government organization in the region
5.3 Aquaculture legislation
5.4 Trade and business associations
5.5 Information resources for management
5.6 Technical assistance projects in the sub-sector

5.1 Government policy in the region

Governments in the region share the same primary appreciation of the value and contribution of aquaculture to their respective economies, its importance as a source of fish (and therefore animal protein) for the human populations, and its role in generating livelihood and employment opportunities particularly for the rural communities. Most have issued formal policy statements regarding the fisheries sector in general, and the aquaculture sub-sector in particular, and have prepared short-, medium-, or long-term plans for fisheries development

In most national plans the main objectives of fisheries development are (i) increase fish production as a cheap protein source for the people; (ii) earn foreign exchange through the export of high-value species of fish and fishery products; (iii) improve socio-economic conditions of small-scale fishermen; (iv) increase the livelihood and employment opportunities for rural populations. It is clear from these objectives that most of the countries in East Asia have gradually shifted emphasis from the traditional marine capture fisheries to inland fisheries and aquaculture. This has been dictated by over-fishing and resource depletion in most major fishing grounds on the one hand, and the high cost of fuel on the other.

In Japan the new strategy for increased fish production involves the enhancement of diminishing fish stocks of commercially valuable species by restocking large quantities of seed in open waters through artificial propagation, intermediary nursing, expansion of natural nursery grounds by seaweed plantation, and the construction of fish reefs, among others. This strategy for increasing "culture-based fisheries" relies on aquaculture methods and techniques for the production of seed for stocking coastal and marine waters, and their harvest by coastal fishermen.

The Government of Viet Nam is giving importance to fish and shrimp farming as an integral part of agriculture. The Government is particularly interested in the introduction of modern technology to its traditional fish culture and for production to earn foreign exchange.

In 1979 China's National Conference on Fisheries stated a policy for rational utilization and management of water and land resources. It focused on aquaculture development and included the effective utilization of all water resources including lakes, dams, and reservoirs for fish production. The Government of China regards the importation of techniques, engineering expertise and equipment for the exploitation and utilization of its fishery resources as important components of its modernization plan. Since 1979 various policies have been formulated redirecting emphasis towards the development of marine and freshwater aquaculture and providing considerable financial, material, and technical support to ensure the attainment of production targets. So far these policies, plans, and programmes have apparently been so well formulated and efficiently implemented that the country has attained production targets three years ahead of schedule. In 1987 total production attained was 9.55 million t, or an increase of 0.55 million t compared with the projected 9 million t by 1990. This is double the 1980 production of 4.507 million t. China's projected target is 18 million t by the end of the century.

In the Philippines the Government policies in fisheries have called for full utilization of the country's fisheries resources, with the intention of maintaining self-sufficiency in fish supply, improving handling and distribution, strengthening small-scale fisheries, and increasing earnings of foreign exchange from exports. These policies have encouraged private sector investments in the area of commercial fishing and aquaculture, and have promoted essentially production-oriented fisheries development strategies. It is anticipated that the findings and recommendations of the National Conference on Fisheries Policy and Planning in 1987 will be taken up at Cabinet-level soon. Institutional reforms and policy changes may thus be forthcoming.

5.2 Government organization in the region

Each of the countries in the region has a national organization which is responsible for the fisheries sector and its overall development and management. The type and structure of the national fisheries organizations vary, however, from one country to the other. In a number of countries (e.g. Brunei, Hong Kong, and Viet Nam), there is a Department of Fisheries which oversees fisheries administration, including aquaculture. In Japan it is the Japan Fisheries Agency which supervises aquaculture development on a national level under two divisions. In Taiwan PC, the Republic of Korea, and the Philippines, overall fisheries administration is provided by national bureaux, or offices of fisheries.

Hong Kong's Agriculture and Fisheries Department has a Fisheries Branch headed by a Director for Agriculture and Fisheries. The Fisheries Branch is divided into three divisions (Fisheries Development, Fisheries Research, and Economics and Marketing Division) which are all staffed with qualified professionals supported by technical staff. In 1984 the Fisheries Research and Fisheries Development Divisions were reorganized into three new divisions: Offshore Fisheries, Territorial Fisheries, and Fisheries Services and Management, as a result of which interrelated research and development activities were grouped together to facilitate provision of services to the respective sectors.

In Viet Nam the Department of Fisheries was established in 1957 with four divisions: Marine, Inland, Marketing and Socio-economics, and Research and Processing. It is headed by a Director of Fisheries and each division is headed by a Chief. Provincial fisheries services are headed by Fisheries Officers.

Brunei's Department of Fisheries was established in 1966 with seven sections including Aquaculture, Extension, and Enforcement. In 1985 the Department had a total staff complement of 109, of whom only eleven were professional/technical personnel. The Department has engaged the services of some expatriate technical experts to assist in the management of specific projects. A Malaysian expert manages their Marine Biology and Aquaculture Research Station at Muara; an Indonesian manages the freshwater aquaculture demonstration farms; and Filipino and Sri Lankan experts are on contract with the Department as part of their institutional strengthening efforts.

In Japan the Japan Fisheries Agency exercised administrative control over aquaculture activities through its two divisions: the Coastal Fisheries Division and the Fisheries Development Division, which provide guidance on marine and inland water aquaculture.

In China fishery administration is carried out by the National Bureau of Aquatic Products under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries. The name of this Ministry has now been changed to the Ministry of Agriculture. Government research is organized under the Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences. In addition, most provinces and municipalities have their own fishery administrative bodies, including Provincial Science and Technology Commissions.

In Taiwan PC fisheries is under the administration and supervision of the Taiwan Fisheries Bureau of the Taiwan Provincial Government, which is under the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Forestry. There is also a Fisheries Section in each municipal government.

The Office of Fisheries is the central government agency concerned with the fisheries industry of the Republic of Korea. It executes its various functions through a bureau, the Fisheries Research and Development Agency which has six primary areas of activity, including aquaculture.

The Philippines is perhaps one of the countries with the oldest fisheries administration. The present Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) started as a Fishery Section of the Bureau of Government Laboratories in 1907. Recently it has been reduced from a national line agency into a staff bureau of the Department of Agriculture. Prior to this reorganization BFAR had fourteen divisions, each headed by a Division Chief, including a Fisheries Extension Division. As the Bureau was a national agency it had regional offices headed by Regional Directors which carried out the various services at the regional level and supervised the operations of the provincial and municipal fisheries offices.

At present the BFAR regional offices have been merged with those of the Department of Agriculture, and with responsibilities not only for fisheries but also for crops, livestock, and other agricultural commodities.

These organizational changes have weakened the national fisheries institution, and the Philippine Congress is considering the creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to integrate all agencies involved in fishing and fishery development and management into a unified organization.

5.3 Aquaculture legislation

A number of legislative acts, ordinances, decrees, and similar regulations for aquaculture have been enacted or issued by countries in the region. Likewise, permits, licenses, and lease agreements are common to the different countries in East Asia. These usually cover the use of public domain for aquaculture purposes, as fish pond lease agreements or leasehold rights, fish pen operation permits, export and import permits, and licenses to operate concessions in fry collecting grounds, among others.

In most cases, however, existing legislation has broad application, i.e. laws and similar regulations have been enacted to cover fisheries in general and not just aquaculture in particular. Hong Kong is one of the few cases where an ordinance - the Marine Fish Culture Ordinance - was enacted to provide a statute meant specifically for the regulation and protection of the aquaculture industry. This Ordinance, enacted in 1980, designated 26 marine culture zones within which all marine culture activities could be undertaken. Since 1983 some 50 offshore farms have been relocated into these 26 zones. Hong Kong also has a Marine Fish (Marketing) Ordinance which controls and regulates by permit the landing, movement, wholesale marketing, and import/export of marine fish.

In China the Fishery Law was adopted by the 14th Session of the Sixth NPC Standing Committee in January 1986, and put into force in July of the same year, with a special chapter dealing with aquaculture. Detailed rules and regulations for the implementation of the Fishery Law were ratified by the State Council in October 1987 and issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in the same month.

In Japan the Coastal Fishing Grounds Rehabilitation and Development Law, enacted in 1974, provides for the establishment of fish shelters to attract fishes and create new fishing grounds and release of fry into coastal waters for culture-based fisheries. A fishing rights system authorizes local cooperatives to manage the fisheries in coastal waters, and a special license is required to collect and sell fry of yellowtail to prevent its over-fishing.

In the Philippines the Constitution itself contains provisions pertaining to fisheries. The Philippine Constitution of 1935 provided for the conservation and development of the country's natural resources, fisheries included, reserving the same exclusively to Filipino citizens or to entities 60% of the capital stock of which should be owned by Filipino citizens. Fisheries, among the natural resources, cannot be alienated but may be granted only through licensing, lease, or concession.

The Constitution of 1983 repeated its treatment of natural resources, including fisheries, and provided that entities may enter into service contracts for financial, technical, management, or other forms of assistance with foreign persons or entities for the exploration, development, exploitation, or utilization of any of the natural resources.

Presidential Decree (PD-704), otherwise known as the Fisheries Decree of 1975, includes banning milkfish fry exportation and providing for the identification and setting aside by BFAR of public lands to be sub-divided into family-size fish ponds to be leased in accordance with guidelines established by the Fishery Industry Development Council.

In addition to these basic laws, there are regulations pertaining to land and water use rights (such as those covering fish pond and fish pen leases) and the zoning of mangrove and lake areas for fish pond and fish pen development, respectively. It is also anticipated that fish pond areas would eventually be included in the new Government's comprehensive agrarian reform programme, in which case, large land holdings will have to be sub-divided or parcelled out into smaller areas for distribution to the small-scale fishermen. It is speculated that the maximum size of fish pond which a farmer may own may be from seven to ten hectares.

There are also permits and licenses for fry and fingerling concessions in coastal areas, for export of fishery products, and even for stocking and transport of fish pen materials in Laguna de Bay. There is a ban on the exportation of milkfish fry, shrimp fry, and gravid shrimp spawners. Furthermore, all imports of live fish fry and adults must be accompanied by quarantine and health certificates.

In Brunei fish pond leases are given to farmers for not less than 10 years, and cease immediately if the ponds are not kept in good condition or if advice given by the Department of Fisheries is not followed.

5.4 Trade and business associations

Many trade and business associations of traders, producers, exporters, suppliers, and service specialists, exist in the different countries at a national level. For example, there are national associations of shrimp producers, shrimp exporters, fish and shrimp processors, feedmillers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and feed distributors and dealers, etc., who unite to promote their products and services collectively. In the Philippines there are associations of consulting firms, which have recently joined into a federation, the Confederation of Filipino Consultants.

These various associations are invariably members of the larger national Chamber of Commerce and Industry in their respective countries. These Chambers may, in turn, have representatives at the ASEAN Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In the Asia-Pacific region there is the Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference, a tripartite grouping of businessmen, academicians, and government representatives covering various sectors of industry, including fisheries.

5.5 Information resources for management

Sources of aquaculture information useful for administrators and managers are available in the region in the form of published materials, and workshops and seminars.

Many of the publications available to aquaculture producers (see 3.8) and professionals (see 4.6) are also used by management. For example, ADB and the World Bank publish monthly information on the status of their projects which invariably includes something on aquaculture. ADB publishes its monthly Operational Information on Proposed Projects and regular newletters and announcements on approved loans or technical assistance grants in the region. The latter give capsulized summaries of the scope of the approved projects, including the cost and the services to be required by either the Government agency, in the case of loans, or the Bank (in the case of technical assistance grants).

The World Bank publishes a monthly International Business Opportunities sheet, which summarizes information on the scope and status of approved projects as well as on contracts which have been awarded. These publications are available on a subscription basis only, except for the ADB circular announcements.

Other published material useful to aquaculture managers includes some FAO/ADCP publications (e.g. guideline documents for planning and development, and the newsletter "Aquaculture Minutes"), the INFOFISH "Trade News", and "INFOFISH International". These provide valuable information to aquaculture managers who need current information on supply and demand situations, prices, etc., for both export and import purposes.

There are a number of short-term courses and orientation workshops and seminars conducted specifically for managers. One example is the Aquaculture Project Development and Management course offered by SEAFDEC-AQD jointly with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Agriculture in the Philippines. This is open only to professional managers with several years of experience in a managerial position. The course puts emphasis on the financial and management aspects of aquaculture enterprises. In the Philippines there are also short-term courses for managers which focus on the preparation and evaluation of feasibility studies, particularly on financial investment.

5.6 Technical assistance projects in the sub-sector

There are few technical assistance projects in the region which focus on national sector management.

FAO is strengthening the Inland Fisheries Research Institute in Viet Nam improving national aquaculture production in fish farming.

In the Philippines FAO provided support for a National Conference on Fisheries Policy and Planning to prepare recommendations to the Philippine Government on measures and strategies to adopt for the development of the fisheries sector (see Section 5.1).

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) together with UNDP, provided funds for the institutional strengthening of the Marine Sciences Center of the University of the Philippines.

The technical assistance grant provided by ADB for the Philippine Aquaculture Development Project included funding for institutional strengthening of the BFAR. This particular component of national sector management (government organization) was identified as one of the more important areas of concern.

UNDP and FAO provided support for a workshop on production of commercial seaweeds in China, which included organization and management.

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