Strengthening governance in aquaculture

Asia has experienced rapid development of aquaculture in the past four decades. This has improved food security, livelihoods and economic development in many Asian countries. It has also become the main source of fish products in the region.

Per capita consumption of fish in Asia increased from 10 kg in 1977 to 24 kg in 2015. Fish now comprises 23 percent of total animal protein in Asian diets. As of 2016, the total value of Asian aquaculture reached 210 billion US dollars. Aquaculture provided 18.5 million jobs in primary production. It provided an equal number in downstream industries.

Yet aquaculture as a new industry is poorly regulated in many countries. Its development has come with environmental problems, animal disease and food safety issues. These have resulted from both inadequate laws and poor enforcement.

By 2030 the world will need another 30 million tonnes of food fish to meet growing demand. Most of this must come from aquaculture. The governance of the aquaculture sector must improve to achieve this sustainably.

The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission identified governance as a threat to sustainable aquaculture growth. FAO has commissioned NACA to prepare a regional review of laws and regulations. NACA and FAO will also organise a consultation to discuss governance of the sector.

The review will also examine demographic changes in Thai and Cambodian fishing communities:

  • What are the changes in demography (ageing, migration) in the fishing communities?
  • How are people adjusting in response to changing fisheries conditions and labour availability?
  • What are the consequences from these adaptation strategies? Are there any gender differences in the impact of such adaptation strategies?
  • What support do fishing communities need to remain sustainable?

Further details on the consultation will be published on the NACA website in due course.