More fish farms needed to make aquaculture sustainable, APEC told
The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) is putting in place measures to make the world’s fish and marine industry sustainable to help feed a growing global population.
Half of the world’s fishery supplies are produced in farms while the other half are still sourced from the sea, Felix Ayson, chief of the Philippine-based SEAFDEC’s aquaculture department and a career fisheries scientist specializing in biotechnology and marine resources, said on Friday.
“But with the increasing population that we have, the direction now is really toward growing more of the fishing farms,” he told the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Policy Partnership on Food Security meeting here.
“So what we in the aquaculture department are doing, being a research organization, is really trying to make this intensification of aquaculture sustainable,” continued Ayson.
Ayson stressed the need for the country to ensure the safety of the aquaculture products it is known for — milkfish, crabs, and shrimps, among others.
As an agency specializing in research and development, the SEAFDEC aquaculture department has developed “species-specific” and “stage-specific” feeds, he said. He was referring to feeds specific to species, as biological compositions require certain nutrients at different stages of life: newborn, breeder, nursery, grown-out, and pregnant.
Although expensive, this technique is significant in ensuring food security, Ayson explained.
It also does not isolate “other activities” in the environment, he added. “Aquaculture can coexist [well] with the other activities that we do in our environment.”
He cited the need to continue research and development, and innovation to make aquaculture sustainable.
Pollution, according to Ayson, is destroying marine resources, which, along with the green economy (forest and agricultural land), comprise the top source of income for the world’s poor.
“So, what we are telling our APEC friends, delegates of our APEC member economies, is that we have this institution in the Philippines that is doing all these kinds of activities,” Ayson said.
“Since one of our mandates is to capacitate people, they can always come to us for training courses, for sharing of information,” he added.