This report was prepared by the 13th Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health (AG) that met at Ki Royal Saigon Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on 22nd to 23rd November, 2014. The Advisory Group was established by the Governing Council of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) to provide advice to NACA members in the Asia-Pacific region on aquatic animal health management.
The regional Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease (QAAD) reporting system has been implemented since the second quarter of 1998 and continues to provide a useful mechanism for aquatic animal disease information sharing amongst 21 participating governments in the Asia-Pacific region. The QAAD reporting system is a joint activity between NACA, FAO and OIE Regional Representation (Tokyo). The 2014/4 QAAD report, 66th in the series, includes disease information from 14 governments. This issue's foreword discusses key activities of NACA’s Regional Aquatic Animal Health Programme in 2014.
This document provides a brief introduction to NACA and its rolling work plan for 2015+. The research and development mandate of NACA is addressed through five interlinked thematic work programmes that support sustainable aquaculture and aquatic resource management, policy development and inter-governmental cooperation in the region. These are:
Three additional cross-cutting work programmes facilitate and support implementation of the thematic work programmes:
The programmes are implemented through the development of projects and activities by the Secretariat in collaboration with participating research centres, member governments and other partners.
Individual projects draw heavily on the personnel and facilities of participating centres. Projects are essentially implemented by the centres with the Secretariat acting as a coordinating body.
NACA also works in close cooperation with FAO, international donor agencies and other regional and international organisations in implementing the work plan.
This book is the proceedings of the “Regional Consultation on Culture-Based Fisheries Development in Asia”, held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, 21-23rd of October 2014, under the auspices of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA). The consultation was jointly organised by NACA and the Fisheries Administration of the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Food and nutritional security remains problematic in many developing countries. There are many initiatives underway which are designed to increase food supply, employment and income opportunities, most of which require considerable capital inputs (for instance cropping, livestock production and aquaculture). Often overlooked, are the opportunities to produce more food from the natural productive ecology of lakes and forests. Culture-based fisheries are one example of a relatively simple and low cost technology which can deliver nutritional and economic benefits to communities which often have few livelihood options.
Culture-based fisheries are based in lakes and reservoirs, where fish populations are supplemented by hatchery-produced fingerlings. The stocked fish may breed naturally in the lakes, or they may be species which are desirable but which do not breed in the still-water environments. Fish growth is driven by the natural productivity of the water bodies. Generally, local communities have ownership of the fish, with the benefits shared or used for communal purposes. However, there are other options for management and ownership depending on local needs, cultural arrangements and other uses of the water.
Research and development of culture-based fisheries has been a major endeavour for NACA and ACIAR since the mid-1990s. This has involved projects in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Lao PDR and Cambodia, the results of which have been reported in previous publications, as noted below. In this volume, we bring together an update from research conducted in those countries and others. We trust the information will foster further development and spread of culture-based fisheries in Asia and beyond, and in doing so, bring livelihood and nutritional benefits to otherwise resource-poor communities.
In the wake of increasing population and rising average per caput consumption of food fish and a plateauing off of the traditional food fish supplies there is an urgent need to close the increasing gap between supply and demand. It is generally acknowledged that aquaculture would increasingly contribute to closing this gap. Aquaculture production is still and likely to continue to be dominated by freshwater finfish production well into the foreseeable future, concentrated in developing countries.
However, increasing intensification of inland aquaculture is confronted with resource limitations such as land and water, and biological inputs such as feeds and consequently other plausible alternatives have to be explored. One such alternative is to utilise small and medium sized water bodies, which are estimated to be found in great abundance in developing countries of the tropics (e.g. estimated around 67 x 106 ha in Asia alone). These are mostly incapable of supporting even subsistence fisheries through natural recruitment, but could be utilised, secondarily, for culture-based fisheries development (CBF).
CBF is essentially a stock and recapture strategy, where the stocked fish feed and grow on naturally produced food resources, and which are most effective when communally managed. The returns from CBF could be very significant in terms of nutritional as well as monetary benefits to the communities.
In this presentation the relevant background information on food fish needs and the ways and means of introducing CBF practices in inland waters are dealt with. The importance of this environmentally “friendly” practice to enhance food fish production in rural communities are emphasised and the way such practices need to be conducted for optimal benefits are discussed.
Stocking occurs in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments worldwide to replenish, maintain or enhance populations of aquatic organisms, especially fish as well as gastropods and crustaceans. Stock enhancement is used by fisheries managers to restore depleted populations of recreationally and commercially significant fish species. Stock enhancement is also used to increase productivity of a fishery by augmenting the natural supply of juveniles, and optimising harvests by overcoming recruitment limitation. Stock enhancement in culture-based fisheries is most often undertaken in small waterbodies on a regular basis to sustain or increase yields. Stocking typically involves the release of large numbers of early-life stage animals that are mass-produced in hatcheries.
The primary purposes of stocking in developed countries is for recovery of threatened species and to support recreational fishing, whereas in developing countries it ismore to increase food fish supplies for rural communities and improve their livelihood through income from fish harvested.
Stocking programs use seedstock produced for aquaculture purposes and in some cases captive breeding techniques have been established specifically to support stocking programs. Advances in techniques to breed fish in captivity have seen a proliferation in the number of species and quantities of juveniles produced in hatcheries for stocking.
In recent years, however, stocking programs have been subjected to substantial criticism due to perceived impact of hatchery-bred fish on genetic structure and fitness of wild stocks, transfer of disease, introduction of exotic species and non-target species, and their effects on other aquatic species and the environment.
To maximise the potential benefits to fisheries from stock enhancement, and to address the above criticisms, a responsible and ecologically sustainable approach should be adopted for all stocking programs. This requires, clear and well-defined objectives, an a priori evaluation of the need for stocking, well-formulated stocking strategies that consider the risks, benefits, the water to be stocked, and the fish to be used (e.g. species used, source of fish, size of fish, and number stocked). Equally important is the evaluation of stocking success in terms harvest yields as well as social, economic and cultural benefits. Other fisheries management measures will also need to be implemented to support stock enhancement, such as fisheries policies, regulations and guidelines for dealing with property and access rights. There are also technical aspects to consider, such as managing the stocked water bodies, harvesting, marketing, and education and training for participating communities.
Culture-based fisheries (CBF) is a practice in which, in general, fish are stocked in small water bodies that are unable to sustain an artisanal fisheries through natural recruitment. CBF has gained popularity in recent years, due to its simplicity in terms of inputs and management and cost effectiveness. Traditionally, in the Asian region, exotic species are used, but countries newly embarking on CBF prefer the use of indigenous species. The shift towards the use of indigenous species was believed to counter negative impacts, perceived or otherwise, brought about by use of exotic species. However, it is also true that hatchery-produced fingerlings that escape can also pose a potential threat to genetic diversity and integrity of their wild counterparts.
At the Regional Workshop on “Culture-based fisheries development in Asia” (this volume), it was clear that the debate on the use of exotic versus indigenous species is still an ongoing topic. This paper entails the pros and cons in the use exotic vs. indigenous species in CBF and steps to be followed when decisions are made on species choice for CBF. The ultimate goal is to improve production whilst maintaining genetic diversity and integrity of the surrounding ecosystems.
A summary of culture-based fisheries developments in Lao PDR based on publications, either in the primary literature, or as manuals and reports posted on the website of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, that have originated from projects funded by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture research (ACIAR) since 1997.
Fish is the most important source of animal protein in Cambodia. On average it makes up more than 75 % of animal protein and in some areas of the country aquatic resources make up 80 % of the available animal protein. Overall, fish consumption is estimated to be around 63 kg/caput/year (FiA, 2013) (whole fish equivalent) and is many times greater than the global average, reflecting the importance of the fisheries sector to the diet and culture of Cambodian people.
The application of culture-based fisheries in Cambodian waters commenced with the initiation of a project under the auspices of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR Project FIS/2011/013), coordinated by NACA. For the initial trial, 16 small reservoirs located in four provinces were selected. These reservoirs differed from each other in surface area, mean depth and the catchment land use features, the latter evaluated using GIS software. In choosing the reservoirs, initial consultations with the village communities responsible for the water regime management were held and their agreement obtained for monitoring and cooperating through the trial period. One common feature in all the reservoirs selected, and for that matter in all water bodies in Cambodia, is the provision of a “conservation zone”, generally in the deeper areas of the water body, where fishing is prohibited.
Culture-based fisheries are a form of aquaculture that utilise small water bodies, both perennial and non-perennial, which cannot support a fishery through natural recruitment processes, for food fish production through a stock-recapture strategy. Culture-based fisheries are environmentally friendly as the only external input is seed stock. It also engages a co-management approach utilising the downstream farming communities in most instances already organised into functional entities for dry land agriculture as the principal beneficiaries (De Silva 2003). Culture-based fisheries are an attractive development strategy as it mobilises dry land farming communities (e.g. rice farmers) to use existing water bodies for the secondary purpose of food fish production. The strategies to optimise benefits from culture-based fisheries, however, vary in detail from country to country and across climatic regimes.
Culture-based fisheries activities were conducted over two growth cycles and in all instances the fish production increased above the levels that were obtained prior to the implementation of culture-based fisheries. In this presentation the stocking strategies and the yields obtained are presented. It is believed, however, the yields could be further enhanced by utilisation of the conservation as nursery areas which will be dealt with in a separate presentation.
Fisheries enhancement is defined as technical intervention in the life cycles of fish. Culture-based fisheries (CBF) development is one of the major fisheries enhancement strategies practised in inland reservoirs of Sri Lanka. The extensive availability of inland reservoirs in the country, primarily constructed for irrigation of land crops in ancient times, favours CBF development, which is essentially a development since late 1990s. Water retention period in most small village reservoirs in the country is seasonal and lasts for six to nine months in the year. CBF development in these reservoirs therefore requires fast growing fish species such as Chinese and Indian major carps. Hormone induced captive breeding of major carps in government-owned hatcheries and fingerlings rearing in mini-nurseries, maintained by rural agricultural farmers, are the sources of seed for stocking these village reservoirs.
The CBF in village reservoirs of Sri Lanka is a communal activity involving agricultural farmers without prior experience in fisheries. As such, awareness programs conducted for these farmers have facilitated establishment of CBF in small village reservoirs. The biological productivity of water bodies and socio-economic conditions of rural communities were found to vary from reservoir to reservoir. As such, successful R&D efforts were made for selection of village reservoirs suitable for CBF development, based on the biological productivity-related parameters such as reservoir morphometry, allochthonous input of nutrients through livestock farming, and socio-economic characteristics of rural communities that favour CBF. For CBF development in village reservoirs, correct timing is necessary for fingerling production to suit the monsoonal rainy season when the reservoirs get filled. Climate change impacts, which resulted in a shift in peak monsoonal rainy season were therefore identified together with possible resilience capacities of rural communities for sustainability of CBF.
Dissemination of research findings through various means such as production of a documentary film, publication of a monograph which was translated to several regional languages, and holding a series of regional workshops were instrumental for CBF development at the regional level. The Asian Development Bank funded Aquatic Resources Development and Quality Improvement Project, which contained a significant component for CBF development in inland reservoirs of Sri Lanka, has also been facilitated by R&D efforts mentioned above. The recent efforts to develop CBF in Sri Lanka include establishment of profitable CBF with effective co-management in selected minor perennial reservoirs, and the use of Macrobrachium rosenbergii post-larvae for CBF in many inland reservoirs.