Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission

Inland fisheries enhancement and conservation in Asia

Category Inland Capture Fisheries

Inland capture fisheries provide an important source of food and livelihoods for many people in rural areas. In 2008, inland capture fisheries provided 10.2 million tonnes of fish worldwide (FAO, 2010), which was largely used for direct human consumption. Asia has overwhelmingly contributed to the world’s inland capture fisheries production with a reported total production of 6.8 million tonnes in 2008 (FAO, 2010). The actual contribution of inland capture fisheries, however, is far higher than what is reflected in the above official data. Because of the difficulties involved in collecting data from large numbers of small-scale, scattered and often unregistered fishers, official figures for fish catches tend to be vastly underestimated. 

Inland fisheries resources provide not only the material basis for maintaining capture fisheries production, but also serve as a reservoir of aquatic biodiversity. However, over the past few decades inland fisheries resources have come under increasing pressure from overfishing, use of destructive fishing gear/methodologies, water engineering projects, pollution and environment changes and have shown a clear declining trend. This has been well demonstrated by the disappearance of some traditionally important fish species and a general reduction in the catch of high valued species. 

Fisheries resource enhancement and conservation measures have long been adopted in many Asian countries for sustaining capture fish production, conserving aquatic biodiversity, rescuing endangered species, improving environmental conditions and upgrading recreational fisheries by offsetting the adverse impacts of human activities on inland fisheries resources. The contribution of inland fisheries resource enhancement and conservation to sustained inland capture fisheries and conservation of aquatic biodiversity as well as to nutritional security and improved rural livelihoods has been commonly recognized. On the other hand, external interventions to the aquatic ecosystem from fisheries resource enhancement and conservation activities may have had adverse impacts on the ecosystem and wild fish community, especially when such activities are carried out without a strong scientific basis or adequate evaluation and monitoring mechanisms. There is a general lack of comprehensive understanding as to the effectiveness and impacts of current enhancement and conservation activities in the region.

This publication is the product of a regional review study on inland fisheries resource enhancement and conservation conducted during 2009-2010. It includes ten country review papers and one regional synthesis report generated from a regional expert workshop. The publication provides the most up-to-date, comprehensive information on inland fisheries resources enhancement and conservation in the region, covering practices, methodologies, operational modalities, impacts, constraints and recommendations for the way forward. The synthesis report provides a regional perspective on inland fisheries resources enhancement and conservation practices in Asia, with special focus on identifying common issues and problems, and recommends actions on improved practices for maximizing benefits to the region.
This publication can serve as an important reference for people working in inland fisheries resources management. More importantly, it provides a starting point for anticipated thrusts in promoting better practices of inland fisheries resource enhancement and conservation.

Miao W., Silva S.D., Davy B. (eds.) (2010) Inland Fisheries Enhancement and conservation in Asia. FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand. RAP Publication 2010/22, 189 pp.