Aquatic diversity: underpinning aquatic food security

Framework of minimum requirements for the conservation, sustainable use and development of aquatic genetic resources

Assessing the national status of conservation, sustainable use and development of aquatic genetic resources (AqGR) is a challenging task for many countries. Limited national expertise, a paucity of information and poorly structured policy frameworks can prevent countries from effectively evaluating the status of their AqGR and thus they are unable to identify needs and priorities for responsible management of their resources or to develop related strategies and policies.
In consultation with the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) Advisory Working Group on Aquatic Genetic Resources and Technologies, FAO developed a Framework of Essential Criteria (the Framework) that can  guide countries to manage their AqGR  in the form of technical guidelines in support of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

Nile tilapia © FAO

The Framework provides guidance on a set of essential requirements that would need to be met to facilitate effective management of AqGR and these fall under five distinct components:

  1. Information and databases
  2. Governance, policy and planning
  3. Infrastructure and equipment
  4. Capacity building and training
  5. Enabling the private sector

The Framework was developed and validated through stakeholder consultations, including a workshop with international experts.

To further validate  the effectiveness of these technical guidelines, FAO conducted exchange visits between representatives of three top level Hungarian institutions with expertise in management of AqGR and representatives of the Department of Fisheries of the Zambian Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (with Zambia selected as target country for the field-testing phase).

© FAO/Lucente

The Hungarian experts used the Framework as a tool to identify needs and gaps in the conservation and development of aquatic genetic resources at the national level in Zambia. The Zambian officials also received received a training in broodstock management, breeding programmes and conservation of aquatic genetic resources in Hungary. This training provided the Zambian delegation with broader knowledge to enable them to critically address their national gaps and needs.
The Framework was published in late 2018 and can form a basis for the development of national plans and strategies as part of a Global Plan of Action for the management of AqGR.