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Home>News Articles>Highlights of Accomplishments in 2008>Toward an environmentally sound and sustainable aquaculture industry through ICZM
 September 20 2008
Participants visit a marine ranching station in Tongyoung county, Korea.

Participants visit a marine ranching station in Tongyoung county, Korea.

BUSAN, KOREA - At a global level, aquaculture is now one of the fastest growing food production sectors. A key to this trend is the change in the supply opportunities for fish and fish products from an open sea source to aquaculture production. In many Asian countries, important fisheries resources have reached a critical level due to over-fishing, aggravated fishing environment, and global climatic changes. This serious decrease in fisheries resources has shifted people's attention to aquaculture development, making it the most popular and fastest growing industry in the coastal zone. However, the growth of aquaculture in the coastal zones causes a lot of pressure over the fragile coastal environment, which supports various key economic and subsistence activities.

To promote the sharing of knowledge and experiences on improved aquaculture technologies and sustainable management in the coastal zones, FFTC in cooperation with the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) of Korea, organized the international workshop on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) for Sustainable Aquaculture held in Busan, Korea on August 25-29, 2008. The workshop, attended by 11 speakers from 8 countries in the Asian region, served as a venue for the sharing of knowledge and experiences on how to attain an environmentally sound and sustainable aquaculture industry in the region taking into consideration the ICZM concepts.

In the context of sustainable aquaculture, a strong collaboration among various partners and stakeholders (coastal resource users and managers, academe, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, people's organizations) in the establishment of a community-based ICZM is vital in addressing issues on resource management, environmental protection, technological and economical viability, and social equity such as seed production, grow-out culture, feed development, fish health management, aquatic ecology, and socioeconomics. Integrated coastal area and river basin management are also an important initiative for the protection of the marine environment from land-based activities. Most importantly, every country must adopt a "Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries and Food Safety" to ensure the protection of the coastal zone amid the growth of the aquaculture industry.

Awareness of environmental conservation, food safety, and responsible aquaculture production is the key to the development and sustainability of the aquaculture industry in the region. In Asian countries, eco-friendly and good management practices (such as GAP and HACCP) are already being implemented through such technological schemes as: poly-eco (environmentally and economically sound) aquaculture; development of high efficiency and environment-friendly feeds; re-circulating aquaculture and other water quality management scheme; bio-mechanisms and practical use of fish disease vaccine; improved management systems such as organic aquaculture, regulations and control for quality of seeds, rearing procedure, etc.

Geographic information system and remote sensing are also effective tools to help site selection and to monitor non-point pollutant sources in the coastal zones (horizontal and vertical) as well as in monitoring short- and long-term improvement of the coastal environment in complementation with good aquaculture practice. Some research and development trends toward sustainable aquaculture in the region are: better management and conservation of important aquatic genetic resources; establishment of traceability system for aqua-products; and reduction of use of chemicals and strengthening research on vaccine development.

During the workshop, the participants deliberated on measures to achieve sustainable aquaculture in the coastal zones. One such measure identified is shifting: from mono-species approach to multi-species approach such as seaweeds, filter feeders and herbivorous species; from feeding aquaculture to non-feeding aquaculture; and from profit-motivated capital intensive approach to sustainable community development oriented ones.

Adoption of Good Aquaculture Practices (GAP) in all sectors of the food and value supply chains (hatchery and farm, feed and chemicals, harvesting and marketing, GMP and HACCP in processing plants, import and export control, consumers) to minimize the negative environmental impacts from aquaculture was also recommended, along with product certification in accordance with environmental and safety standards.

Clearly, more effective government policy/regulations and legislations are needed toward the sustainability of aquaculture, particularly in terms of more effective farm planning, site selection, and management that carefully consider the carrying capacity of the environment and the needs of the other users of the coastal resources. ICZM also requires the integration of disciplines and the cooperation of government and non-government organizations, local institutions, and the community in a participatory approach.

Planning and regulatory frameworks for the strategic and controlled development of the coastal zones should also be in place. The development of coastal aquaculture should be based on the principles of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of the natural resources. Promotion of social equity with emphasis on giving priority to the marginalized sectors of the coastal communities must also be encouraged.

Finally, exchange and sharing of information and technology among researchers and scientists within the region must be sustained and enhanced toward the attainment of economic, social, and environmental sustainability in aquaculture, and in the protection and conservation of the coastal zones.