Sustainable aquaculture key to supporting food security
Environmentally sound sustainable aquaculture intensification is one key to supporting food security and meeting the growing demand for fish in Asia and the Pacific
16/6/2015, Bangkok, Thailand – Experts from nearly 20 countries and regional organizations in the Asia-Pacific region have gathered in Bangkok for a regional workshop on documenting and sharing their successful practices in sustainable intensification of aquaculture, which is a regional initiative of FAO in collaboration with the Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific.
During opening remarks, the participants heard of the critical importance of aquaculture in providing high quality animal food to the increasing world population and contributing to blue economic growth in Asia and the Pacific.
“After three decades of rapid development, aquaculture has become the most important source of fish supply for people in the region,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative. “It’s also the most important region of aquaculture development as Asia-Pacific now contributes over 90 percent of the world’s aquaculture production, supplying about 60 percent of food fish for the people of Asia and Pacific and providing some 18 million jobs in primary production operations.”
“As the result of foreseeable population growth, and change in people’s dietary habits along with the economic growth, Asia’s demand for fish is expected to increase by 50 – 60 percent with some 30 million tonnes by 2030,” said Konuma. Further growth in aquaculture production is expected in order to meet this increasing demand as capture fisheries production continues to stagnate, he added.
“Further production growth of Asian aquaculture will have to rely heavily on intensive and semi-intensive operations because of increasing scarcity of natural resources, such as water and land due to competition from different users,” Konuma said.
The past growth of aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region has largely resulted from intensification, which has contributed to improved production efficiency and overall supply of fish products, while environmental sustainability was not seriously respected. Public institutions and aquaculture practitioners have been making efforts to improve the environment and socioeconomic benefits while improving production efficiency through intensification, which will contribute to the sustainability of intensive and semi-intensive aquaculture.
“Many good practices of sustainable intensification of aquaculture have been successfully developed and implemented in the region,” said Konuma. “Documentation and dissemination of successful practices of sustainable intensification of aquaculture in the region has been identified as an effective approach to promote sustainable intensification of aquaculture in this region, and FAO has committed to a regional initiative for Asia-Pacific to support the sustainable growth of aquaculture to meet the increased demand for fish and blue economic growth in the region.”