desilva-aglobalperspective-2000.pdf (1.55 MB)
A global perspective of aquaculture in the new millennium
conference contributionposted on 2000-01-01, 00:00 authored by S De Silva
In modern times, not many primary industries have consistently recorded high yearly growth over a period of two decades. Aquaculture has sustained a global growth, continues to grow, and is expected to increasingly fill the shortfall in aquatic food products resulting from static or declining capture fisheries and population increase well into the year 2025. Its further growth and development will have to occur under a different socio-economic milieu in the new millennium. The basic paradigm changes will be from an increased production at almost any cost, to a sustainable increase in production with minimal environmental perturbations. Despite such paradigm changes, aquaculture will increasingly contribute to food security, poverty alleviation and social equity. The contribution of aquaculture to world food supply of aquatic products has been increasing over the past 10 years, in comparison to capture fisheries, growing from 15 to 28 percent of total production between 1988 and 1997. As the bulk of aquaculture is rural and subsistence, it plays a major role as a provider of direct and indirect employment to the rural poor and, thereby, to poverty alleviation. In many developing countries, aquaculture provides opportunities for diversification on agriculture farms and productive use to otherwise idle land during certain seasons. The main cause for the upsurge in the sector has been the transformation of aquaculture from an “art” form to a “science”. This brought many advantages, ranging from less dependence on wild stock to the development of techniques that optimized yields, such as polyculture, or enabled the achievement of high yields with low inputs. Two major developments also enabled the sector to maintain growth momentum, appropriate institutional frameworks and concerted research and development. Regions or continents have many commonalities. These include the predominance of finfish among the cultivated species, and the predominance of species that feed lower in the food chain, although shrimp, which does not naturally feed high in the trophic level but is mostly reared on artificial feed, has become a significant culture commodity. Notable differences, however, include the fact that all regions, except Africa and the countries of the former USSR, have recorded a significant increase in per capita production between 1984 and 1997. While Asia continues to dominate world aquaculture in overall tonnage, as well as in every major commodity, South America has registered a very high (72.8 percent) average annual growth between 1984 and 1997. The global and regional trends over the last 20 years in the sector from a number of perspectives, such as production trends, contribution of aquaculture to aquatic food consumption etc., are evaluated. Based on these different trends and in the light of changing socio-economic conditions globally, and in particular, in developing nations, the potential changes in the sector in the new millennium are highlighted. Finally, projections are made for the next 20 years, where opportunities, constraints and strategies for achieving the targets are presented and discussed.