The importance of aquaculture, its development and its growing social and economic benefits and contributions - particularly to world fish supplies, employment and income of rural population - has been increasingly recognized during the last decade. The need for an international forum to specifically examine this sector has subsequently emerged.
At its Twenty-fourth Session, the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) decided to establish a Sub-Committee on Aquaculture to provide a forum for consultation and discussion on aquaculture and to advise COFI on technical and policy matters related to aquaculture and on the work to be performed by FAO in the subject matter field of aquaculture. The first session of the Sub-Committee was held in 2002 in Beijing, People's Republic of China.
The Sub-Committee recognized the important role that aquaculture could play in improving livelihoods, generating income, and stimulating national and regional development and identified the following as key priority areas for future work:
- Creating an enabling environment for the promotion of sustainable aquaculture development and management;
- Establishing a framework for sustainable rural aquaculture development;
- Education, information sharing and capacity-building; and,
- Data collection and reporting to improve knowledge and management of the sector.
The Sub-Committee meets every two years and is open to all Members of FAO.