05/11/2019 Bangkok, Thailand – The Asia-Pacific region is taking important preparatory steps to strengthen the governance of aquaculture for sustainable development and future food security, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.
Following four decades of advancements, aquaculture has surpassed capture fisheries to become the major source of fish for human consumption in Asia. Total production of aquaculture reached 103 million tonnes in 2017, and that fish supplied some 60 percent of food fish for human consumption. In 2017, the average per capita fish consumption in Asia reached 24 kg, contributing 23 percent of animal protein in Asian diets.
Asian aquaculture also provides an important source of livelihoods for rural communities as well as creating job opportunities in related supporting sectors, such as input manufacture, construction, processing, trade and other service sectors. It has engaged over 18 million fish farmers in primary production and nearly equal numbers of job opportunities in related supporting sectors.
Moves toward greater sustainability required as demand increases
Globally, fish consumption is projected to increase by some 30 million tonnes by 2030 as the result of population increases and improved living standards. It is essential that this demand be met through the sustainable growth of aquaculture which will contribute to the attainment of SDG targets related to zero hunger, poverty alleviation and conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources.
However, the aquaculture sector is increasingly being required to meet stringent environmental standards, biosecurity safeguards, food safety standards and others – and so improved governance of the sector is needed. “The governance of Asia’s aquaculture sector generally lags behind that of other sectors in the region,” said Weimin Miao, FAO Aquaculture Officer for Asia and the Pacific. “Improvement of governance of the aquaculture sector is vital to ensure its sustainable growth.”
Regional consultation to strengthen governance
FAO has collaborated with the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) through the convening of a regional consultation on strengthening the governance of aquaculture in Asia-Pacific to ensure sustainable development.
In preparation for the regional consultation, underway this week in Bangkok, FAO and NACA have coordinated national assessment studies on the status of aquaculture governance in eight countries and developed a draft regional synthesis. More than 40 government officials and experts from 15 countries and a number of regional and international organizations are participating in the regional consultation.
The participants are reviewing comprehensiveness of current laws, acts and other regulatory instruments to safeguard the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry in different countries in the region. The participants are working toward a consensus on priority issues related to aquaculture governance and a guiding strategy for member governments to strengthen aquaculture governance.
“Supporting FAO member countries to strengthen the governance in aquaculture and fisheries sectoral development will be one of the priority areas of FAO’s work in the region in the coming biennium. This regional consultation is just the start of FAO’s new programme activities to support the sustainability and resilience of the fisheries sector in the region” said Xiangjun Yao, FAO Regional Programme Leader for Asia and the Pacific. “The outputs of this regional consultation, will provide a good strategic direction to FAO, NACA and APFIC’s fisheries programme priorities.”