Sustainable aquaculture and aquatic resources management

By Neil Ridler, 22/09/2010 | .mp3, 7.95 MB | 937 views | Download soundtrack Stream soundtrack
Programme: Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010

There is now a consensus that modern and successful aquaculture, whether small-, medium- or large-scale, depends on the private sector and the profit motive. Such aquaculture must entail a business orientation as with any enterprise. One of the most important reasons why entrepreneurs flourish in some jurisdictions but not in others is governance. Governance affects all business, whether aquaculture or any other. Business-friendly policies, such as security of property rights, enforcement of contracts, and macroeconomic and political stability are important to stimulate entrepreneurship and investment in aquaculture because they reduce risk and costs. Without respect for the rule of law and enforcement of contracts, aquaculture farmers have difficulty obtaining adequate inputs from suppliers and marketing products. Dissemination of new research and technology too depends on administrative and institutional frameworks. Good governance enhances aquaculture sustainability as it enables the sector to prosper over a long time period. The purpose of this review is to offer some insights into aquaculture governance. For this, it examines aquaculture governance from a global perspective, looking at the role of governments in administering and regulating aquaculture, including, licence procedures, possible strategies and policy instruments. It also analyses the role and responsibilities of other stakeholders, such as industry, non-governmental organisations and communities. It is hoped these insights can be useful in promoting an industry that is sustainable.

Sustainability of the sector implies technical feasibility, economic viability, environmental integrity and social licence. An economically viable and efficient, environmentally friendly and socially responsible aquaculture sector will benefit every member of society because of its associated invaluable environmental and social amenities. Thus, a second aim of this review is to build on countries’ recent experiences to review the role that aquaculture has played in improving countries’ socio-economic growth and development, and to discuss how governance instruments including policies, laws, regulations and effective partnership amongst stakeholders can lead to enhanced aquaculture’s net benefits to society. “The Bangkok Declaration and Strategy for Aquaculture Development Beyond 2000” (Bangkok Declaration) has already recognised that the potential of aquaculture’s contribution to human development and social empowerment cannot be fully realised without consistent, responsible policies and goals, effective institutional arrangements and regulatory frameworks, and improving co-operation amongst stakeholders at national, regional and inter-regional levels.

Aquaculture sustainability, the ultimate goal of governance, will be difficult without adequate investment in the sector. The importance of investment in aquaculture, was acknowledged by the “Bangkok Declaration” which stressed that adequate investment in aquaculture is essential for its future development. In addition to emphasising this importance, it identified several constraints of this investment, such as the risk and uncertainty associated with returns from investment in the sector, and made recommendations for addressing the issues involved.

Since the Declaration, research has been undertaken by the FAO and other institutions and individuals to address many of the issues, and laudable results have been achieved. However, a decade later some of the then identified constraints and some others which are not mentioned in the Declaration, have started to seriously impede aquaculture development. For example, water has become scarcer; available new sites for aquaculture have become more difficult to obtain; and environmental and ecological problems have magnified. As a result, greater regulation of economic activity, including aquaculture production has occurred, posing new challenges for investment in aquaculture and future growth of the sector. In addition, high levels of exposure to risk and uncertainty in aquaculture continue to restrict investment in aquaculture and stunt its development. The third objective of this review, therefore, is to evaluate the progress made in this area since the Bangkok Declaration, identify the factors that contribute to risk and uncertainty in aquaculture, discuss the methods of specifying the risk and uncertainty involved and analyse their consequences on aquafarmers’ investment decision-making. Its goal is also to outline alternative methods of managing and coping with risk in aquaculture and to examine ways of extending the availability of insurance cover for aquafarmers. In so doing, the role of government policies, institutions and regulations will be examined.



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