FAO and NACA organised the Regional Workshop on the Status of Aquatic Genetic Resources in Asia-Pacific at Hotel Centara Grand Ladprao, Bangkok from 23-26 March 2015. This was the first workshop in the series of four to be conducted globally by FAO. The workshop was intended to enhance the capacity of national focal Points on Aquatic Genetic Resources within Asia-Pacific Region regarding the preparation of national reports on the current status of aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture (use, conservation and management). These will be used as the major source of information for the first State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture report, under the umbrella of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA).
The national focal points from fifteen countries in Asia; Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Japan, South Korea and the Pacific participated in the workshop, along with Fiji and global experts. FAO staff including Dr Devin Bartley, Dr Halwart Matthias and NACA staff Dr Kuldeep K. Lal facilitated the process of workshop with expert input from Dr Graham Mair (Australia), Dr Tim Pickering (SPC), Dr Clemens Fieseler (Germany) and Dr Ruth Garcia Gomez (FAO consultant).
FAO and NACA convened a stakeholder consultation in Bangkok 25-27 March 2015 to discuss development of an environmental monitoring system for the lower Mekong Basin. The objective of the system is to strengthen the resilience of fisheries and aquaculture and to improve early warning for fishers and farmers.
The workshop was preceded by baseline assessments of existing environmental monitoring and early warning systems relevant to fisheries and aquaculture in the target area, which covers Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. The assessments also reached out to relevant agencies in the target countries to gather feedback on what environmental issues they considered important and what parameters should be monitored to meet these ends. While the main goal of the system is to serve the daily needs of farmers and fishers – providing information and warnings important to their livelihoods - a secondary objective is to facilitate long-term monitoring of the impacts of climate change over the long term.
Audio recordings of the presentations from the Special Session on Regional Cooperation for Improved Biosecurity, held at the World Aquaculture Adelaide 2014 conference, are available for download. The session discussed i) regional cooperation in biosecurity, ii) dealing with emerging diseases, focussing on acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease, and iii) domestication programmes and their implications for genetic diversity, disease susceptibility and resistance.
Effective health management is a shared responsibility that requires a coordinated approach from all countries, particularly with regards to emergent pathogens such as "EMS" (acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease of shrimp), where containment requires a rapid response from the international community. There are good reasons to believe that wide and increasing inbreeding is also a significant factor in the epidemics frequently observed in the aquaculture industry.
NACA would like to thank the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research for providing a travel grant that allowed the speakers to attend the conference.
The twelfth meeting of NACA’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was held in the coastal town of Cha-am, Thailand from 9-12 March, approximately two hours’ drive south of Bangkok. The meeting was attended by participants from sixteen NACA member states, the Regional Lead Centres for China, India, the Philippines and Thailand and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The TAC meets every two years to review NACA’s rolling work programme and propose amendments to realign it with the current needs of member governments and to account for new and emerging issues. In proposing changes, the TAC prioritises issues of common concern to multiple member governments where there are good prospects for regional collaboration. The NACA Secretariat uses the output to revise the work programme, which is submitted to the next meeting of the NACA Governing Council for consideration and adoption.
The objectives of the Aquaculture for Food Security, Poverty Alleviation and Nutrition (AFSPAN) project were to strengthen the knowledge base and develop new and more rigorous methodologies of quantifying the contribution of aquaculture to combat hunger and poverty, thus providing the evidence upon which sound strategies, policies and research programs can be developed to support the sustainable expansion of aquaculture to maximise its impact on food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation.
The three-year project was implemented by eighteen partners in eleven Asian, African and South American developing and Low Income, Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs), encompassing the spectrum of development conditions and role of aquaculture in national economies. The partnership also included EU partners and international organisations.