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.
Sri Lanka is blessed with a large number (>12,000) of irrigation reservoirs. Depending on their hydrological regimes, they are broadly categorised into perennial and seasonal reservoirs and are secondarily used for inland fisheries. Culture-based fisheries (CBF) in seasonal reservoirs was initiated in the 1980’s and it is well documented. The Government of Sri Lanka has recognised CBF as an effective way of increasing fish supplies in rural areas, at affordable prices, while also providing employment and additional income to rural farmers and thereby contributing towards alleviation of poverty. There are around 200,000 ha of perennial reservoirs in Sri Lanka. These reservoirs are divided into three broad size categories, minor (<200 ha), medium (200 - 800 ha) and major (>800 ha). In this paper the impact of introduction of CBF on fish production in minor, medium and major perennial reservoirs are assessed using the fish production data from eight minor, seven medium and two large reservoirs. In all three categories of reservoirs post CBF resulted in very significant increases in fish production, such as for example increases of 206 and 319 % average annual fish production in minor and medium sized reservoirs, respectively.
Available provisions under the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act No. 02 (1996) to ensure ownership of the fish harvest to the fisher community, a crucial element in the success of CBF, are also highlighted. Further, the role of fisher community based organisations and fisheries management measures introduced for effecting successful CBF practices are also discussed.
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.
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 2014/2 QAAD report, 63rd in the series, includes disease information from 15 governments. This issue's foreword contains a new PCR method for the detection of AHPHND bacteria.