Aquaculture in southeast Asia has been growing steadily over the last decades, requiring more space to accommodate it.
The search for additional areas to expand the aquaculture industry as a whole and the identification of new farming species of commercial value are pushing the sector in some countries to broaden activities in the sea, including further offshore where more space is available and competition less intense.
The Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), organized a regional workshop to identify key trends and issues affecting mariculture growth in the Asia-Pacific region and to strengthen regional collaboration for future responsible development of mariculture.
The FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in collaboration with the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) organized the regional workshop entitled “The Future of Mariculture: a Regional Approach for Responsible Development in the Asia-Pacific Region” from 7 to 11 March 2006. The workshop, held in Guangzhou, China, was conducted in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries of the People’s Republic of China and the Guangdong Ocean and Fisheries Administration.
Fifty-one participants from governments, business, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), universities and regional and international organizations from maricultureproducing countries around the Asia-Pacific region attended the workshop.
The workshop was convened in response to requests from FAO and NACA members to identify key trends and issues affecting mariculture growth in the Asia-Pacific region and to strengthen regional collaboration for future responsible development of mariculture. China’s hosting of the workshop recognizes the status of China as the leading mariculture-producing country in the world and a major market for mariculture products from around the Asia-Pacific region.
The workshop was organized in complementary sessions. The first consisted of a series of presentations and discussions on country trends and thematic reviews on selected key issues. The second continued with three working groups focusing on important topics, namely: 1) Market, Demand and Trade; 2) Livelihoods, Producer Organizations, Technology Transfer and Communications; and 3) Mariculture Species and Systems. The third session comprised a “farmer dialogue” and a “trader and marketing dialogue”. The farmer dialogue was conducted at a large mariculture farming area near Guangzhou, while the trader and marketing dialogue was conducted at the largest live-seafood market in Asia. These dialogues yielded valuable insights and recommendations from farmers and traders.
The final plenary session brought together the working group findings and identified opportunities for regional collaborative action. The workshop participants proposed the establishment of a regional “Asia-Pacific Mariculture Cooperation” initiative to support the development of sustainable mariculture in the Asia-Pacific region. The initiative will facilitate cooperation among the countries of the region by promoting responsible mariculture farming technologies, capacity-building, market access and effective transfer of knowledge. The platform for the initiative would be the “Asia-Pacific Marine Finfish Aquaculture Network”, which is already promoting cooperation in marine fish farming around the region and has been widely seen as a successful programme. FAO and NACA were requested to facilitate and support the development of this new mariculture initiative.
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