| 5. Aquaculture |
|3 Possible environ mental impacts|
Aquaculture projects may create changes in traditional ways of life and utilization of natural resources. Generally speaking this can occur in two ways: a) Those impacts a project may have on the local ecosystem may require that the local, traditional utilization of natural resources must be rearranged. b) The direct impacts of a project on the local socio-cultural and socio-economic conditions may indirectly create long-term environmental impacts through changed natural resource utilization.
Fish farmers in developing countries are a heterogeneous group (cf. chapter 2). Basically, aquaculture projects can range from small-scale farming carried out by locals in the countryside to intensive farming in e.g. marine coastal areas run by well-funded contractors. The relevant project areas can be divided into two main categories: areas where aquaculture has been practiced for generations thus having become part of the local production and culture; areas where aquaculture has not been practiced previously.
An aquaculture project which does not consider the economic, social and cultural conditions of the project area or its vicinity may easily create conflicts. Generally speaking, extensive and semi-intensive forms of farming are more adaptable to local conditions than intensive ones, partly because intensive farming requires a considerable investment of capital. Adaptation will be easier in areas where the local population is familiar with fish farming. The population in other areas is likely to regard aquaculture as a risky trade requiring new input and know-how. Due to local traditions and power structures, the local population may not have title to land or water, or have merely seasonal access to these resources. The choice of farm species, moreover, should be carefully considered in relation to local traditions and diets.
Aquaculture can create conflicts with the local population's use of land, water and other natural resources. Transport and traffic in bays and other coastal areas can be hindered. Areas utilized for the purposes of agriculture, forestry or animal husbandry can be affected. Conflicts with existing fisheries may arise. Fishing and fish handling are traditionally carried out by certain groups of a population, whereas it is often different groups that adjust to a prospective new trade. Aquaculture projects can change the need for labour and training. Transition to a new technology and trade can alter the traditional division of labour between men and women. The possibility of conflicts with other population groups within the project area is also worth considering. Aqua culture is not particularly labour-intensive. Accordingly, it takes large intensive farms before migration into the area, on account of the project, will develop into a potential environmental problem. On the other hand, aquaculture farms can lead to local migrations causing potential land-use conflicts and increased pressure on the natural resources.