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28/02/2005 Thailand

Socio-economic considerations vital for ensuring livelihoods and access to food and resources

Bangkok – The very survival and livelihoods of coastal communities should take centre place in rebuilding fishing and aquaculture in tsunami-affected Asian countries, FAO warned today.

During a workshop at the FAO regional office in Bangkok, a consortium* of fisheries agencies presented a draft blue print for the rebuilding and rehabilitation of fisheries and aquaculture communities and livelihoods in tsunami-affected Asian countries.

The workshop is the first coordinated partnership in Asia of the governments of tsunami-affected countries, NGOs, international and regional agencies, and bilateral donors to formulate a framework for regional fisheries rehabilitation initiatives.

“Our shared vision calls for extensive stakeholder consultation and public participation of fishers and fish farmers which ensures respect for traditional uses, access and rights to food and resources, at the same time reducing potential risk and vulnerability for coastal communities from future natural disasters,” said He Changchui, FAO’s regional chief during the opening ceremony of the workshop.

Three areas identified by CONSRN for immediate consideration by national governments and other groups engaged in post-tsunami activities are:
• The avoidance of overcapacity in fishing boats and vessels: a forum and technical assistance are needed for coordinating between donors and countries on levels and suitability of fishing fleets in the region.
• The use of responsible and selective fishing gear in restoration programmes. This calls for appropriate national policies and the eradication of destructive fishing gears.
• The rehabilitation of cage aquaculture: improving efficiency and profitability of marine cage aquaculture and simultaneously reducing risk of disease and improving environmental performance and product quality.

The workshop will review the draft CONSRN proposal and come up with an agreed overall vision of what fisheries and aquaculture might look like in five years time and, based on guiding principles, define strategies to fulfill this vision.

An important outcome will be a series of recommendations for action by CONSRN partners, governments, development partners and donors, said FAO.

“As the region now moves towards rehabilitation and reconstruction, we emphasize the need for additional financial resources and technical assistance to the affected countries, beyond the pledges made so far for post-tsunami emergency programmes,” added Mr He.

Participants of the workshop include India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand as well as representatives from development agencies and donor countries (ADB, AUSAID, EC, Japan, Sida and WB) and NGOs.

* The Consortium to restore shattered livelihoods in tsunami-devastated nations (CONSRN) is a grouping of the following governmental organizations:
• The Bay of Bengal Programme – ntergovernmental Organization (BOBP-IGO)
• The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
• The Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific (NACA)
• The South East Asia Fisheries Development Centres (SEAFDEC)
• The WorldFish Centre (WorldFish)

The consortium aims to combine the goals of the UN Millennium Declaration and relevant ASEAN resolutions with the principles of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture as contained in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, NACA’s Principles for Sustainable Aquaculture and SEAFDEC’s Regional Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries in S.E. Asia.

RAP 05/08

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