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close this bookEnvironmental Handbook Volume II: Agriculture, Mining/Energy, Trade/Industry (GTZ, 1995, 736 p.)
close this folderAgriculture
close this folder32. Fisheries and aquaculture
View the document1. Scope
View the document2. Environmental impacts and protective measures
View the document3. Notes on the analysis and evaluation of environmental impacts
View the document4. Interaction with other sectors
View the document5. Summary assessment of environmental relevance
View the document6. References

5. Summary assessment of environmental relevance

Fisheries and aquaculture are dependent on the existence of an environment which is intact or at least not permanently damaged, but can themselves have negative effects on the environment and on resources. As fisheries rely on continuous natural renewal of fish resources, activities in this field must treat these resources and their habitats with care.

Wherever resources have already been overfished and their habitats adversely affected by environmental changes, they must be rehabilitated if possible. Once fishing reaches a certain level of intensity, improved utilisation of catches is the only way of raising production. To this end, particular efforts should be made in the future to promote consumption of types of fish which are currently still unattractive from the commercial viewpoint and are simply used for making fish meal, and to ensure that fewer fish are lost as a result of spoilage.

Aquaculture is for the most part still a relatively new field of activity in the fishery sector. To promote its future development it requires tailor-made strategies which take particular account of the fact that most of the natural resources employed in aquaculture (water, land, feedstuffs; spawn in the case of most cultivated species) are already used for other purposes and can thus become sources of conflict. One of the most important strategic principles must therefore be to avoid such conflicts or resolve them with a minimum of adverse consequences in the ecological, economic and social spheres. This means, for example, that

- the impacts of aquaculture must initially be compared with those of other ways of utilising resources (e.g. mangrove forests as a means of preventing coastal erosion, tourism), with aquaculture activities then being designed as far as possible such that they complement use of water resources for other purposes;
- by-products or waste products that cannot be put to beneficial use elsewhere should be used as far as possible for feeding aquaculture organisms and fertilising the water. It is vital, however, that such products should be free of contamination (e.g. by pesticides).

Observance of the basic principles can be encouraged if the long-term advantages are demonstrated by effective examples and appropriate political and ecological conditions create a balanced combination of incentives and restrictions.

When involved in the development strategy and given appropriate training, women can play a key role in helping to prevent, reduce and eliminate environmental and health risks. Particular importance must be attached to awareness-raising measures that take religious considerations and cultural aspects into account.