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.


Subject tags

A collection of subject tags relating to technical matters.

In this collection

Promising aquaculture practices for sustainable intensification

Although there is no panacea on the horizon, there is a huge potential to increase Asian aquaculture productivity through wider dissemination of existing technologies, especially in less developed countries. Greater implementation of better management practices will improve efficiency of existing systems, and an ecosystem approach to aquaculture will contribute to more appropriate integration of aquaculture with other land uses, and to preserving environmental integrity.

Application of aquaculture planning and management tools for sustainable intensification of aquaculture

Aquaculture planning and management tools are supported by a range of broader cross-cutting system capacities needed by any jurisdiction to fulfill its responsibilities with respect to ensuring ESD and thereby, the sustainable intensification of aquaculture. These include legal instruments, standard operating procedures, capacity and capability (expertise) necessary to implement the specific tools. The single most important tool necessary in all instances is the political vision and leadership.

Small farmers: Better practices and challenges in moving towards sustainability

Farmers organised as a cluster engage in collective planning, decision making and implementation of crop activities, using a participatory approach to accomplish their common goals. The evidence shows that if farmers can see benefits, particularly long-term benefits, they will change their farming practices under a variety of conditions and drivers. With provision of adequate support and services they can be part of the solution in moving aquaculture towards sustainability.

Sustainable ethical aquaculture trade

The EC FP7 research project Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade is using Life Cycle Analysis as a core tool to assess the broader impacts of aquaculture on the global environment, allied to detailed modelling of local environmental impacts. The ethical dimensions and contradictions of Asian production systems based on trade with Europe are considered with reference to the shrimp and tilapia value chains in China and Pangasius farms in Viet Nam.

The role of the private sector in sustainable aquaculture

Sustainability is critical to Cargill’s businesses, and we are involved in a range of stewardship activities to support responsible use of natural resources. Our innovative approaches to conserve resources, use renewable raw materials and reduce impacts are aimed at helping to protect and preserve our environment. The challenge will be how to structure aquaculture development to allow adequate investment and economies of scale with appropriate safeguards of sustainability and food safety within a smallholder-based industry.

Sustainable intensification - farmer group perspective

Presentation on farmer group perspectives on sustainable intensification of aquaculture.

Regional Consultation on the Sustainable Intensification of Aquaculture in Asia-Pacific

The objective of the consultation was to develop a regional strategic policy framework to guide national governments and regional organisations in promoting sustainable intensification of aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region. The consultation also identified priority actions and, where possible, practical measures for their implementation, focussing on intensifying aquaculture through more efficient use of resources and environmentally sound practices rather than by increasing inputs to the system.

NACA Newsletter, Volume XXVIII, No. 1, January-March 2013

In this issue:

11th meeting of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health. Aquaculture community mourns Prof. M.C. Nandeesha. Got a story for Aquaculture Asia Magazine? AusAID funded project on Institutional Support for Development of Mariculture in South East Sulawesi commences. Regional training course on broodstock management in aquaculture, Vietnam 27 May - 1 June 2013. Video recordings from workshop on sustainable intensification of aquaculture released!

Case study on the impacts of climate change on shrimp farming in Andhra Pradesh, India

Shrimp aquaculture is threatened by climatic changes that affect infrastructure and livelihoods of farmers. Ecological changes, inundation of low-lying lands and saline intrusions into freshwater regions are likely to cause substantial dislocation of communities and disruption of farming systems. The focus of the present study report is on mapping the small scale farmer’s perceptions and attitudes towards climate change impacts and their adaptive capacities to address the impacts in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Policy brief: Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change for shrimp farming in India

This brief summarises the results from the interdisciplinary and multi stakeholder participatory study conducted within the Aquaclimate Project in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, India looking at the impacts of climate change on shrimp farming. The brief further provides guidelines for development of policy measures to address the climate change impacts on small scale shrimp farming.