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Expert Workshop on Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification

This report is the final draft of the FAO/NACA/Government of Thailand Expert Workshop on Guidelines for aquaculture Certification held in Bangkok, Thailand during 27-30 March 2007.

Abstract

The workshop addressed many of the key issues around the growing interest in certification of aquaculture products. The status and trends in aquaculture, experiences in certification of aquaculture products, certification standards, harmonization and equivalence among certification schemes, stakeholder involvement and ownership, costs and benefits, and the participation of small-scale farmers were among the wide ranging issues discussed during the workshop.

Introduction

  1. Global production from aquaculture has grown substantially, contributing increasingly significant quantities to the world’s supply of fish for human consumption. This increasing trend is projected to continue in forthcoming decades. It is envisioned that the sector will contribute more effectively to food security, poverty reduction and economic development by producing - with minimum impact on the environment and maximum benefit to society - 83 million tonnes of aquatic food by 2030, an increase of 37.5 million tonnes over the 2004 level1.
  2. Aquaculture has an important role to play in global efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition through supplying fish and other aquatic products rich in protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Aquaculture can also make significant contributions to povert reduction by improving incomes, providing employment opportunities and increasing returns of resource use. With appropriate management, the sector appears ready to meet the demand gap for aquatic food (fish) for the coming decades, a consequence of the increasing global population and stagnant capture fishery production. The main challenge for policy makers and development agents is to create an “enabling environment” to support the expansion needed to meet this potential. This enabling environment is multi-faceted and requires significant political will, policy support and investment. The failure to provide this environment may result in the inability for the fisheries sector to provide the supply of aquatic food required to even maintain current levels of consumption.
  3. The increasing recognition by governments to implement aquaculture programs based on sound policies, the growth in population and increasing purchasing power of people, the opening of new markets facilitated by trade liberalization, and the technological advances bring greater opportunities for further development of the sector. On the other hand, the stagnating level of capture fisheries, the need to further strengthen capacities of institutions and other stakeholders, the increasing consumer demand for diversified, safe and quality aquatic products, the scarcity of land and water resources, and the need to support small-scale farmers pose major challenges to the sector.
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June 2007

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