Broodstock management in aquaculture: Long term effort required for regional capacity building

Asia produces nearly 90% of world aquaculture output. However, growth of the industry is increasingly constrained by various factors, including poor broodstock quality and genetic deterioration of domesticated stock. This has arisen in part from a general lack of planning, knowledge and skills in broodstock management. Capacity building across the region is urgently required for hatchery operators at different scales through information exchange, experience sharing and training.

The United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP), Network of Aquaculture Centre in Asia-Pacific (NACA) and Nha Trang University jointly initiated a project on “Development of a Regional Training Course for Capacity Building on: Finfish Broodstock Management in Aquaculture Broodstock Management in Aquaculture” in collaboration with Deakin University and Fisheries Victoria (Australia) and Holar University (Iceland) in 2012. The objective was to develop and test a training course on principles and practices of broodstock management with hatchery managers and key in-service personnel associated with hatchery operations. To date, a set of training materials have been developed, covering most aspects of broodstock management including broodstock nutrition, genetic maintenance and improvement, disease and health management and hatchery operation. The training materials have been continuously evolving through consultation in various expert workshops and accumulation of practical knowledge. Two pilot training courses were conducted in 2013 and 2014 respectively in Nha Trang University, Vietnam, for some 80 professionals from 19 countries in Asia and Africa. The training courses took a learner-centered approach, encouraging active participation of trainees in learning process, emphasing practical experiences and problem solving skills of participants.

Broodstock management is an important part of general aquaculture practice and interrelated to all other segments of aquaculture production cycle. It is however often considered to be difficult by some hatchery operators due to lack of know-how or simply overlooked by others. The issue is further complicated by lack of overall planning, little collaboration among seed producers, insufficient financial input for R&D, and lack of institutional support. Efforts to maintain and improve broodstock quality of any major cultured species requires long-term strategic planning at national and regional level and practical approaches involving public sectors, breeding centers, and private hatcheries at various operational scales. Capacity building for all stakeholders through training is therefore fundamentally important to raise awareness, update knowledge and enhance skills.

Participants considered that the training courses were highly relevant and important in addressing the issue of deteriorating broodstock quality. They were satisfied with the course organization and logistic support and voiced their continuing effort to amplify the course impacts upon return to their work through application of knowledge and skills they acquired during the training.

Development and successful implementation of the training course on broodstock management in aquaculture by UNU-FTP, NACA and Nha Trang University turned over a new leaf for regional capacity building in broodstock management in aquaculture. Admittedly this is just a start and there is still long way to go.

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