Global aquaculture development since 2000: Progress made in implementing the Bangkok Declaration and Strategy for Aquaculture Development Beyond 2000

In 1976, FAO assisted in adopting the Kyoto Strategy for Aquaculture Development, which facilitated the transformation of aquaculture from a traditional to a science-based economic activity. It promoted technical cooperation among developing countries to expand national, regional and global aquaculture development. In 1995, promulgation of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries enshrined the principles of sustainability and responsibility in the practice of fisheries and aquaculture. It sparked the development and increasing adoption of practical guidelines for responsible fishing, fish farming and trade in aquatic products. Subsequently, in 2000, NACA in collaboration with FAO and the Thai Department of Fisheries adopted the Bangkok Declaration and Strategy, which reconciled the development and management of global aquaculture into five key areas of sustainable aquaculture: the fundamental need for a responsible farmer to be justifiably rewarded; the social ideal of equitable sharing of costs and benefits; society’s desire to benefit from aquaculture without being harmed by its practices and products; the pragmatic economic goal of providing livelihood and enough and affordable food to everyone; and the moral obligation to conserve the environment for the next generation.

It has been recognised that the principles and strategies advocated by the Kyoto Declaration on Aquaculture in 1976, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in 1995, and the Bangkok Declaration and Strategy in 2000 have served well the process and goals of aquaculture development.

The aquaculture sector has further expanded, intensified and diversified during the past decade. The expansion of the sector is mainly due to research and development breakthroughs, compliance to consumer demands and improvements in aquaculture policy and governance, in keeping with the guidance provided in the 2000 Bangkok Declaration and Strategy. Efforts to develop the sector’s full potential and increase global seafood supplies have been aggressively pursued in recent years in order to create a regulatory regime supporting industry expansion and growth. The aquaculture sector has been developed in a more sustainable manner in keeping with the principles of ecosystem-based management and in accordance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. However, these trends did not occur equally throughout the regions.

The aquaculture sector continued to enhance environmental performance though a combination of improved legislation and governance, technological innovations (water and discharge treatment) and better management practices. There is evidence of efforts towards application of ecosystem approach to aquaculture development in all regions. Many countries expanded their sea-farming activities and began to promote multi-trophic aquaculture with reduced environmental impact. Aquaculture networking improved and communication expanded. Technology strengthened, several new species emerged (tra catfish, tuna, cod, etc.) and some reached adequate production rates for an established market. The quantity and quality of seed and feed increased globally, taking into further consideration consumers’ concerns as well as resource availability. Significant improvements in feed conversion and fishmeal reliance have been achieved in several species. In general, aquaculture health management improved. The use of veterinary drugs and antimicrobials came under increased scrutiny, and legal frameworks for controlling their use have been established in many countries, although effective enforcement of such laws is still constrained by a shortage of financial and human resources.

Although precise figures are lacking, aquaculture’s contribution to poverty alleviation, food security, gender opportunities and employment and trade has increased over the past decade. This is reflected in the increase in volume and value of production and through the growing presence of aquaculture products in world markets, in particular as raw material to the processing sector and through the availability of aquaculture products to world consumers, including domestic markets. Various related issues such as ownership by the beneficiaries, people-centred approaches, growing species that feed low on the food chain, targeting all household members, use of farmer field schools-type methodologies and the use of technologies that are developed according to the local context with network approaches have all contributed to this.

Unlike many other sectors of the economy worldwide, aquaculture has been resilient to the global economic crisis. However, an extended crisis could damage the sector’s growth, especially by limiting funds available for research and support to vulnerable groups such as small-scale farmers. Governments, in particular those in developing countries, need to have sound macroeconomic and public-sector management programmes in place in order to cope with the likely impacts. Governments also need to consider providing safety-net support to vulnerable groups, including those engaged in aquaculture activities, particularly as an adaptive response to the possible impacts of climate change. In addition, the continued support of donor partners would be useful to sustain the economic and social achievements.

The two assessments of progress made by FAO in responsible aquaculture development and trade within the current decade, the first in 2005 and published as the State of World Aquaculture 2006, the second in 2009 and appearing as the Global Aquaculture Review 2010, have shown that: (a) the progress has been largely achieved by efforts made in line with the Bangkok Declaration and Strategy, (b) the Strategy remains relevant to the aquaculture development needs and aspirations of States, and (c) there are elements of the Strategy that require strengthening in order to enhance its effectiveness to achieve development goals and deal with persistent and emerging threats.

This keynote elaborates the achievements made during the past decade, in keeping with the Bangkok Declaration and Strategy, which brought the aquaculture sector to the current level.


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Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010

The conference was organised by FAO, the Thai Department of Fisheries and NACA and held in the Mövenpick Resort and Spa, Phuket, Thailand, 22-25 September. The conference was the third in a series of aquaculture development conferences, following on from the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium held in Bangkok 2000, and the FAO Technical Conference on Aquaculture, held in Kyoto 1976.