Environment and sustainability

Global population is forecast to reach around 9 billion by 2050. To feed the world, global agricultural output must increase by around 60% from present levels. This must be achieved against a background of increasing competition for natural resources such as water, feed ingredients and farming sites.

Maintaining environmental integrity while massively increasing food production will require farming systems to reduce their unit production environmental footprint. Many farming practices that are regarded as sustainable today will not be acceptable when scaled up. Sustainable intensification of aquaculture means doing more with less. The Sustainable Farming Systems Programme aims to help aquaculture become a more efficient user of natural resources, both in terms of farm productivity and environmental efficiency.

The programme develops better management practices for major aquaculture farming systems, and promotes aquaculture as a secondary or additional use of water resources. The programme focusses on practical interventions that can be directly achieved by small-scale farmers in a developing country context.

Key activities

Key activities of the programme are:

  • Development of better management practices for key aquaculture production systems.
  • Organising small-scale farmers into associations to facilitate cluster-based approaches to extension.
  • Development of culture-based fisheries as a secondary use of water bodies.
  • Development of strategic policy frameworks to guide governments and development agencies in promoting sustainable intensification of aquaculture.

Creative Commons Attribution.


Subject tags

A collection of subject tags relating to technical matters.

In this collection

FAO Guidelines for Sustainable Aquaculture adopted by COFI

FAO's Committee on Fisheries has adopted the Guidelines for Sustainable Aquaculture (GSA), which have been prepared to support efforts at all levels for enhancing the important role of aquaculture towards the eradication of hunger and poverty and to support socioeconomic development, in full respect of the environment, biodiversity and ecosystem functions. The GSA are a major milestone and a collective achievement by FAO and its Members, underscoring the global recognition of the vital role of aquaculture and the need for its continued sustainable development for the sake of current and future generations. 

Knowledge brokering for nature-based solutions in aquaculture transformation: Inception workshop

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is sponsoring the project "Knowledge Brokering for Nature-Based Solutions in Aquaculture Transformation in Asia-Pacific: Support to the Aquaculture Innovation and Investment Hub." The project is part of a wider IDRC AQUADAPT initiative, a four-year partnership running from 2023-2027. AQUADAPT addresses the intertwined challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and food insecurity through applied research on nature-based solutions in aquaculture in Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. AQUADAPT emphasises Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI), ensuring that nature-based solutions are inclusive of all genders and marginalised groups. The project's inception workshop was held in Bangkok from July 4-5, bringing together project teams from Thailand, The Philippines, and Fiji to discuss approaches and methodologies. 

Aquaculture Asia Magazine, April-June 2024

In this issue:

  • Scientific aquaculture to promote better livelihoods for Scheduled Caste farmers.
  • Rainbow trout in Jammu and Kashmir: Present status and strategies for expansion.
  • Community participation in marine ornamental aquaculture: An integral approach on livelihood empowerment of islander women and conservation of reef ecosystems at the Lakshadweep Islands, India.
  • Training programmes organised by West Bengal Fisheries Department in South 24 Parganas in the beginning of 2024.
  • Exploring the possibility of captive production of a near threatened catfish, Rita chrysea for Indian aquaculture.
  • NACA Newsletter.

Exploring the possibility of captive production of a near threatened catfish, Rita chrysea for Indian aquaculture

Rita chrysea, a member of the Bagridae family, is a medium-sized freshwater catfish predominantly inhabiting the Mahanadi River system, coursing through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha in India. It has been classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN. Researchers at ICAR-CIFA, Bhubaneswar, have achieved successful breeding and rearing of R. chrysea in an intiative that aims to to popularise the species through training programs for farmers. This article describes methodologies to induce spawning and rear the larvae of R. chrysea and its performance in captivity, potentially paving the way for its adoption as a mainstream aquaculture species. Furthermore, the insights provided in this article may contribute to ensuring the captive breeding and rearing of two other species, R. pavimentata and R. rita, in the future. These species, belonging to the same genus, dominate Indian river systems.

Safeguarding salt lake brine shrimp (Artemia) resources for aquaculture: A training project

A training project addressing Artemia management and conservation from hydrological, biological, ecological, aquaculture, wildlife and legislative perspectives will be held in Rome, Italy, from 2-6 September 2024. The training is being organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), with the financial support of the Alliance of National and International Science Organizations for the Belt and Road Regions (ANSO) and the Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences (RAOS), in cooperation with the International Artemia Aquaculture Consortium (IAAC). The project will address hydrological, biological, ecological, aquaculture, wildlife and legislative aspects of Artemia management and conservation.

NACA Newsletter, Vol. XXXIX, January-March 2024

In this issue:

  • Second High-Level Meeting on Aquaculture Transformation in Asia and the Pacific Region.
  • Reported aquatic animal diseases in the Asia-Pacific region during the second quarter of 2023.
  • Expert Workshop on Aquaculture Effluent Management.
  • Larvi 2024: First announcement and call for papers.
  • Tuskfish CMS 2.0.7 released.

Expert Workshop on Aquaculture Effluent Management held in Bangkok

In 2023, FAO and NACA initiated a consultation process on aquaculture effluent management in Asia and the Pacific in collaboration with NACA member governments. Experts across the region gathered information to assess the state of governance, advancements in technology and innovation in aquaculture effluent management. The consultative process culminated in an expert workshop, convened from 14 to 15 November, funded by FAO, to share views and national experiences on aquaculture effluent management.

WAS Journal Special Issue: Global Conference on Aquaculture Millennium +20 Thematic Reviews

Eight thematic reviews prepared as preparation for the Global Conference on Aquaculture Millennium +20 (GCA +20) have been published in a Special Issue of the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society "Aquaculture for Food and Sustainable Development". A group of experts prepared advanced working drafts of each thematic review and the key findings from each theme were presented and discussed by expert panels during the GCA +20. Participants were then invited to provide their feedback and perspectives on the reviews and their key messages for consideration in finalisation of the papers. The reviews are available for free download.

7th International Symposium on Cage Aquaculture in Asia (2nd announcement)

CAA7 will be held in Hainan, China, from 29 November to 2 December, with an option for online participation via Zoom for people that cannot attend in person. The theme of the symposium is "Sustainable development of cage aquaculture in Asia". Sessions will be held on: Production systems; breeding and seed production; nutrition and feed; carbon sink and fouling organisms; health and environmental management; economics, gender, livelihood and policy.

The symposium is organised by the Asian Fisheries Society, Hainan University, Shanghai Ocean University, and the China-ASEAN "Belt and Road" Joint Laboratory of Mariculture Technology, Center for Ecological Aquaculture.

Aquaculture Asia Magazine, April-June 2023

In this issue:

Aquaculture and fisheries perspectives in Arunachal Pradesh; Present status of medium saline ‘bheri’ fishery and integrated mangrove-aquaculture in West Bengal, India: A short study: Part 2; Transforming waste to wealth: An onsite demonstration of transforming fish waste into fish fertiliser to tribal communities of Jharkhand; Innovative fish sale improved livelihoods at Jurala dam in Telangana, India; Pengba, Osteobrama belangeri – a candidate species for diversification in aquaculture; First report on successful captive breeding of peacock eel, Macrognathus aral; NACA Newsletter.