RSS | Register/註冊 | Log in/登入
Site search:
Home>News Articles>Highlights of Accomplishments in 2007>Aquaculture workshop discussed eco-friendly technologies and food safety concerns in Asia
 January 23 2007
Participants of the workshop led by FFTC Director Sing-Hwa Hu observe the facilities of the Gondol Research Institute for Mariculture (GRIM) in Bali, Indonesia

Participants of the workshop led by FFTC Director Sing-Hwa Hu observe the facilities of the Gondol Research Institute for Mariculture (GRIM) in Bali, Indonesia

BALI, INDONESIA. In the Asian and Pacific region, there is an increasing demand among consumers for high-quality, eco-friendly, and safe aquaculture products. Hence, the Center recently sponsored an international workshop entitled "Innovative Technologies for Eco-friendly Fish Farm Management and Production of Safe Aquaculture Foods", which served as a venue for the sharing of knowledge and experiences on improved aquaculture technologies and management system to address the need for eco-friendly production processes and food safety concerns in the region. Held in Bali, Indonesia on December 04-08, 2006, the workshop covered major issues, recent technological advancements, and more detailed topics such as environmentally sound poly-eco-aquaculture, organic aquaculture, integrated fish farming system, safety though monitoring for the presence of pathogenic bacteria, chemical contaminants, and drug residues in aquaculture products, all toward addressing the long-term viability and sustainability of aquaculture development, particularly in respect to commercial aquaculture by small-scale fish farmers. Case studies on institutional resources and critical factors to facilitate small-scale farmers’ adoption of technologies and management schemes were also exchanged.

A field observation tour of an aquaculture research and development institute in northern Bali provided the participants an opportunity to get an insight into the technological advancements in aquaculture of the island. During the two-day paper presentations and discussions, 14 speakers representing eight countries in Asia (composed of 6 resource papers and 8 country papers) shared and exchanged information, knowledge and experiences on such key issues as: environmental and social concerns in production; technologies to improve the quality and safety of aquaculture food that is placed in the market; and marketing, institutional support, government policies, and other critical factors for the development of small-scale aquaculture farming in Asia.

Nowadays, it has become more important than ever to adopt innovative technologies and management schemes that will ensure the preservation of the aquaculture environments, and which will guarantee food safety or the protection of the aquaculture products from any form of hazard or contamination. Meeting safety requirements [e.g. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), Good Aquaculture Practice (GAP), etc.] in all stages of the production and handling process has now become an uncompromising condition in most countries. However, complying with these rigid safety requirements has been difficult for small-scale farmers, who have been producing mostly unqualified and contaminated aquaculture commodities, owing to their little knowledge about sustainable aquaculture management as well as some policy/regulation and structural constraints.

Aquaculture is now considered as a major player in the national economy, specifically in terms of producing high nutritional value food for human consumption, and contributing to rural income and employment through farming and related activities. However, the long-term viability and sustainability of both fresh water and marine aquaculture, particularly in respect to commercial small-scale fish farming, has now become a critical factor in aquaculture development, in view of the increasing environmental and social concerns associated with the industry.

Some of the recommendations made during the workshop includes the development and implementation of international, regional and national guidelines for responsible and eco-friendly aquaculture through codes of conduct and fisheries to ensure the preservation of the aquaculture environments, as well as the quality and safety of aquaculture foods and other products.

With sustainability and food quality/safety as the core components, there is a critical need for countries within the region to forge international collaboration, harmonization and transborder policies to develop standards and mechanisms for HACCP and/or GAP/GHP/GMP implementation. These standards must not only be accessible to large commercial/industrial production, but must also be beneficial to small-scale fish farmers. While many crossover points between the EUREP GAP and the US GAP can be incorporated to facilitate trading for exporting countries, the Asian system/standard must be unique to Asia, particularly to the region’s aquaculture environments and conditions, as well as to the interests of its small-scale farmers and consumers.

Given the importance of attaining sustainable aquaculture with no or limited negative externalities, exporting countries must adopt more sustainable production practices, such as eco-labeling schemes and safety assessments. Risk assessment and other precautionary approaches must be observed, especially before entry into production of new or exotic species, including the potential use of products from modern biotechnology.

Each country must advocate strong government support, political will and legislation in support of food safety and eco-friendly technologies, particularly in terms of standardization/certification, fish farmers’ education and training, research and development on quality management systems, and credit and other financial support, and marketing management strategies. Compliance by the fish farmers must also be considered, through intensified extension/promotional and educational activities.

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 providing safe aquaculture food supply and gaining consumer confidence in aquaculture products.