Prevent over fishing in rebuilding tsunami affected coastal communities

30/03/2006 

Bangkok – Taking stock of progress reached in the fisheries sector one year after the tsunami, FAO stresses the need for continued re-examination and targeting of reconstruction efforts to secure a long-term future for fishing communities.

While people’s basic needs for food, shelter and clothing were met quickly after the 2004 tsunami, the recovery of the worst hit fisheries and coastal eco-systems calls for a five- to ten-year effort, FAO said today.

“Turning crisis into opportunities, the 2005 tsunami has raised awareness of and mobilized world solidarity for poverty in coastal areas – a topic previously not high on the international agenda,” FAO’s representative for Asia and the Pacific, He Changchui commented today during the opening ceremony of a regional post-tsunami fisheries meeting in Bangkok.

In restoring the livelihoods of coastal communities, we must ensure sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and sound management of the natural resource base such as land, coral reefs, mangrove forests and associated fisheries, the FAO statement added.

Increasingly concerns have been expressed about the quantity of vessels and fishing gear supplied by governments and donors.

Other concerns include the poor quality of boats that are being supplied, perceived inequities in distribution of fishery and aquaculture inputs and lack of consideration of other important aspects of fishing, including post-harvest activities and markets.

“All evidence points to coastal fisheries resources being over fished and severely depleted in tsunami affected areas prior to the tsunami. Our key guiding principle is thus to adopt fishing management interventions that address these issues and find solutions to the apparent oversupply of small fishing boats,” stressed Derek Staples, senior fishery officer in the FAO Bangkok office.

Relevant policy guidelines and advice to governments was formulated by the CONSRN consortium that provides support to the tsunami rehabilitation process in the fisheries sector through specialized networks and the sharing of information among international and regional organizations.

CONSRN members are the Bay of Bengal Programme – Intergovernmental Organization (BOBP-IGO), the Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific (NACA), the South East Asia Fisheries Development Centers (SEAFDEC); the WorldFish Centre (WorldFish), and FAO.

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For more information on the meeting contact Derek Staples, FAO senior fishery officer at email [email protected] or telephone +66 0 2697 4110

Background
One year ago, CONSRN consortium partners and governments from affected countries agreed on a regional strategic framework in support of tsunami rehabilitation for the fisheries sector. The framework included improving policy and institutions, providing appropriate physical assets, restoring the environment whilst ensuring equitable access, providing appropriate financial support, and improving capacity in support of community livelihoods and responsible coastal resource management and the rebuilding of social assets.

In addition, a series of “guiding principles” were agreed which were intended to guide the rehabilitation and development activities described in the framework.

One year on, CONSRN is organizing a workshop in Bangkok to review what progress was made towards achieving the goals set out in the strategy, to re-assess needs and to determine how best to help coordinate the longer-term rehabilitation that is still needed in affected countries.

The objectives of the second regional workshops are to review progress against regional strategy, to review and discuss national strategies, and to plan how CONSRN can further assist countries in this task.

The workshop is held at the FAO regional office in Bangkok. Participating countries are India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

More information at:
http://www.fao.org/tsunami/

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