New Asian trawl fisheries ‘vision’ needed
The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) has called for more effective management of the trawl sector in Asia, which balances the need to sustain marine fishery ecosystems with the demand for feeds for aquaculture.
Meeting in Da Nang, Viet Nam, APFIC members recognised the challenges facing the region’s fisheries including overfishing in coastal areas particularly from trawling and the use of non-selective fishing gears. At the same time the need to sustain the livelihoods of large numbers of small-scale fishers as well as to meet the demand for low value fish/trash fish for feeds in marine/coastal aquaculture was noted.
Dr Simon Funge-Smith, secretary of APFIC said, “We need to develop a vision for more effective management of the trawl sector in Asia. This vision should balance the demands for fish for human consumption and aquaculture feeds with the need to sustain ecosystems and improve capture fishery quality.”
APFIC members agreed to work towards better management of the region’s trawl fisheries including the development of enhanced risk-based assessment methods, the availability of best practice advice for trawl management and the reduction of trawl bycatch.
The APFIC members also recognised the considerable contribution the region’s aquaculture industry makes to food security and export income.
“Asian aquaculture continues to be a major growth sector but it is largely underpinned by the use of feeds made from low value or trash fish from marine trawl fisheries. The region needs to work towards the availability and use of responsibly sourced fish feeds,” said Dr Funge-Smith.