AQD convenes regional technical consultation on aquaculture

AQD convened the Regional technical consultation for sustainable aquaculture (RTC-A) development of Southeast Asia towards 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand from 17 to 19 March 2010.

Participants to the regional technical consultation on aquacultureRTC-A formed part of a series of consultations done by SEAFDEC as a center-wide activity to assess the progress of member-countries and AQD in six thematic areas, to wit: good quality seeds, environment-friendly aquaculture, getting out of the fish meal trap, healthy and wholesome aquaculture, biotechnology and rural aquaculture. These were the thematic areas first identified nine years ago, during the 2001 ASEAN-SEAFDEC Millennium conference.

The country presentations included Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Around 55 participants were present.

For theme 1 (on meeting social and economic challenges), the RTC-A assessment was that the issues are very complex and unique to each country. But overall, aquaculture still plays an important part in national government plans for food security and poverty alleviation, rural development being a strong focus of all the countries. For this area, RTC-A recommended (1) a careful assessment of the contribution and impact of aquaculture in addressing poverty, food security and livelihood; and (2) multi-agency collaboration between and among SEAFDEC and its member-countries, and other regional organizations such as NACA, FAO-RAP, MRC, the WorldFish Centre (all sent representatives to RTC-A) and other interested stakeholders.

For theme 2 (on better seeds for sustainable aquatic food production), RTC-A noted that seedstock availability is still a problem and that there are now socioeconomic and legal issues associated with genetic improvement. In general, the recommendation was better public/private sector partnerships so that small-scale farmers can seek assistance for capacity building in broodstock and hatchery management.

Dr. Tim Flegel of Mahidol University; Dr. Celia Pitogo of AQD who presented the thematic area on wholesome and healthy aquaculture; and Dr. Mali Boonyaratpalin of Thailand's DOF For theme 3 (wholesome and healthy aquaculture), RTC-A was concerned about the emergence of zoonotic diseases, lack of fish health professionals, current disease diagnostic procedures favoring the intensive and large-scale operators, non-production of fish meal substitutes in commercial scale despite experimental successes, and overdevelopment of aquaculture areas that has led to fish kills. The recommendations included promotion of organic farming, certification and quarantine, cost-effective training, government investment in domestication to produce SPF stock, better enforcement of zoning policies, and promoting on-farm feed production.

For theme 4 (on protecting the environment and climate change), RTC-A took note that, among others, there is still excessive use of antibiotics, chemicals, feeds and fertilizers which has led to eutrophication. The recommendation was basically good management practices, and new research on integrated and multi-trophic aquaculture. For climate change, the meeting discussed some impacts to aquaculture like temperature, acidification, drought/flooding (which would necessitate finding new species for culture that are adaptable to changes or developing entirely new culture systems), sea level rise (investment in habitat protection), and greenhouse gas emission (new research on seaweed/algae as biofuel). There was also a recommendation to draw new maps of sites that are not suitable for aquaculture as these are highly vulnerable to climate change.

No comments: