FAO Technical Guidelines in support of sustainable aquaculture development

The FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) is considered the basic foundation on which to promote sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development for the future. The 1995 FAO Conference requested FAO, in collaboration with members and interested relevant organizations, to elaborate technical guidelines in support of the implementation of the Code.

It is significant that the Code's structure and its different components correspond roughly to different groups of stakeholders and responsible actors (fishers, managers, processors, traders, fish farmers and scientists). The FAO Fisheries Department emphasizes the need to involve representatives of all interested key stakeholder groups in the development and formulation of guideline documents so as to promote and assure participation, consultation and broad ownership of such documents, as well as expertise and technically sound advice.

An example of such an ongoing multi-stakeholder process of consensus-building and negotiation on normative, as well as practical guideline documentation, is the promotion of efforts leading to the development of policies, good management practices and good legal and institutional arrangements for Sustainable Shrimp Culture Development. The FAO Fisheries Department supports this global process, in cooperation with the World Bank, World Wide Fund for Nature and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific.

Since 1995, the FAO Fisheries Department has been producing and continues to publish wide-ranging guideline documentation to assist those concerned with the implementation of the recommendations of the Code of Conduct. Some of the Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries target issues important to both aquaculture and capture fisheries, for example, those dealing with the precautionary approach and species introductions, food safety, fish utilization and trade.

In addition to the CCRF technical guidelines on Aquaculture Development, there are other guidelines that address aquaculture-specific issues and problems, for example genetic resources management, aquaculture health management, feeding and food safety, environmental management and planning of aquaculture development, safe and effective use of chemicals, sustainable integration of aquaculture and agriculture, and other aspects.

It is expected that such guideline documents are complemented as required by specific technical protocols, codes of practice, instruction manuals, guides on good management practices, etc. In fact, since 1995 there has been a remarkable increase in the number of codes of practice and similar guidance publications on aquaculture which have often been developed by government institutions, experts, private sector interest groups, and, often, in close cooperation or consultation with environmental advocacy initiatives.

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