BANGKOK, Oct 2 (Bernama) — Six countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the world’s largest consumer of fish products, have come together to draft a work plan on the sustainable intensification of aquaculture for ‘Blue Growth’, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Thursday.
Representatives from the Governments of Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vietnam are working with FAO global and regional fishery and aquaculture experts to develop an FAO regional initiative to enhance production of aquaculture in an environmentally sound and sustainable way — the Blue Growth initiative.
“There is a clear need to intensify aquaculture but it must be sustainable, environmentally sound and socially acceptable,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.
“FAO is supporting each country with its own initiatives in Blue Growth strategies and work plans,” he said, adding the aim of this workshop was to develop work plans and have them in place by March or April next year ahead of FAO’s biannual conference in Rome, Italy in June 2015.
Citing research by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Konuma said the percentage of middle-income earners in the Asia-Pacific would triple by 2020 from 2009 and would grow six-fold by 2030, exponentially increasing demand for fish consumption “especially in China, India and Indonesia”.
In order to keep up, FAO predicts that the Asian aquaculture production will need to increase by more than 60 per cent to meet the projected consumption demand by 2030 — just to meet the demand in Asia.
The region already accounts for 90 per cent of global aquaculture production and 50 per cent of global consumption currently.
The fastest growth in production will likely be species of tilapia, carp, and catfish — all of which are freshwater species in the Asia-Pacific region and produced in considerable quantities.