Strategies Support Aquaculture and Fisheries Management in Concert with SDGs
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WorldFish launched a 2017-2022 strategy outlining the organization’s course to achieve targets on sustainable aquaculture production, enhanced food and nutrition security and pathways out of poverty for fishers and fish farmers, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) and other intergovernmental bodies advanced strategies for aquaculture and fisheries that also address livelihoods and nutrition.

The fifth session of the Central Asian and Caucasus Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission (CACFish) welcomed increasing aquaculture and inland fisheries production in the region.

December 2016: With a view to meeting global goals on hunger, oceans and biodiversity conservation, several international organizations and governments have recently announced actions meant to boost the sustainability of aquaculture and fisheries management. In one such announcement, WorldFish launched a 2017-2022 strategy aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) and other intergovernmental bodies advanced strategies for aquaculture and fisheries that also account for livelihoods and nutrition. In addition, the US Government announced a program to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in seafood.

On aquaculture, WorldFish, a member of the CGIAR Consortium, launched a 2017-2022 strategy that charts the organization’s course to achieve targets on increasing sustainable aquaculture production, enhancing food and nutrition security and providing pathways out of poverty for fishers and fish farmers in developing countries, in line with the SDGs. The strategy details WorldFish’s contributions to the Goals (SDGs – 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15 and 17) with an emphasis on strengthening fisheries governance, developing improved fish breeds and feeds, and delivering on nutrition. WorldFish Director-General, Nigel Preston, explained, “sustainable aquaculture practices offer water, energy and feed conversion efficiencies superior to any other domesticated animal food production system—and fish is the only animal-source food that can be produced in saltwater, offering unique advantages for climate resilient production. The new WorldFish strategy outlines ambitious targets that will maximize the nutritional and livelihood benefits for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

WorldFish Director-General, Nigel Preston, explained, “sustainable aquaculture practices offer water, energy and feed conversion efficiencies superior to any other domesticated animal food production system.”

In line with these aims, WorldFish highlighted a project to make improved fish strains of tilapia, Indian carp and African catfish more accessible to poor people in Bangladesh, Egypt, Kenya and Mozambique. The European Commission (EC) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are funding the ‘Improving the technological foundations for sustainable aquaculture’ project, which is working to make improved species of fish breeds and food more widely available and equitably distributed. The project addresses broader household food and nutrition security needs.

Also on aquaculture, the FAO Aquaculture Newsletter (FAN) states that aquaculture’s contribution to the supply of fish for human consumption is higher than that of wild caught fish, a statistic that FAO notes is encouraging for food security and nutrition and for achieving progress on the SDGs. Within this context, the newsletter questions aquaculture’s potential to meet the needs of poor consumers, particularly in Africa, and its contribution to decent work, equitable sharing of benefits and nutrition. The newsletter also provides global and regional updates, highlights relevant meetings and events and discusses the possibility of managing aquaculture from space, among other topics.

In a related development, the fifth session of the Central Asian and Caucasus Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission (CACFish), a regional fishery management organization (RFMO) established under FAO, welcomed increasing aquaculture and inland fisheries production in the region, crediting the sector’s improvement to capacity building and training activities over the past ten years. The Commission recognized progress in fish production, fisheries employment and contributions to rural livelihoods and overall sustainable development of aquaculture and inland fisheries. CACFish reviewed progress on implementing recommendations and guidelines on inland fisheries in the region, highlighting implementation of guidelines on sturgeon hatchery practices and environmental impact assessments in aquaculture. It identified future priorities, including habitat rehabilitation for inland fisheries and establishment of national fisheries and aquaculture data and information systems. The session convened in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 10 -12 October 2016. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkey are the current members of the Commission, although additional countries from the Central Asia and Caucasus region participated in the meeting.

On fisheries, Common Oceans highlighted the results of its Caribbean Billfish Project (CBP), which is part of the larger project, ‘Ocean Partnerships for sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation,’ funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the World Bank. The Western Central Atlantic Fisheries Commission (WECAFC), a RFMO, investigated the socioeconomic, scientific and legal aspects of the sustainable management and conservation of billfish within its region, resulting in a number of studies and papers. Findings highlighted in the studies include, inter alia: exploitation of billfish resources similar to that of tuna in the Atlantic Ocean, leading to depletion and overfishing of the species; and a need for better data on billfish fishing effort, landings and supply chains.

Also on sustainable fisheries management, the third Project Steering Committee of the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project reviewed the project’s progress. Achievements include, inter alia: adoption of a harvest control rule for skipjack tuna; completion of legal templates to facilitate the incorporation of the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing into national legislation; completion of a one-year shark data inventory for the Eastern Pacific and recommendations on data collection standards and procedures; and training and capacity building programs and activities.

With regard to IUU fishing, the US Government introduced a rule under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Monitoring Act to establish the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will manage the program, which will establish permitting, reporting and record keeping procedures for imported fish and fish products at risk of IUU fishing or seafood fraud. The Program is a recommendation of the Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud, which recommended, inter alia, the development of a risk-based traceability program to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud. [WorldFish Press Release] [WorldFish strategy 2017-2022] [WorldFish Press Release on Project] [FAO Aquaculture Newsletter] [FAO Story on CACFish meeting] [Common Oceans Feature Story on the Caribbean Billfish Project] [Common Oceans Feature Story on Tuna Project] [US Department of Commerce Document on Seafood Import Monitoring Program] [Presidential Task Force Final Report] [Sustainable Development Goals]

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