Tim Pickering: Aquaculture development: trends and successes in the Pacific

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The presentation was part of the Brussels Development Briefing on the topic of fish-farming, organized by the Technical Centre for Agriculture (CTA), the European Commission, and the African, Carribean, and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat on 3rd of July 2013 in Brussels.
More on: http://brusselsbriefings.net/

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  • Points:Regional characteristicsOpportunities
  • Tim Pickering: Aquaculture development: trends and successes in the Pacific

    1. 1. Brussels Development Briefing n.32 Fish-farming the new driver of the blue economy? 3rd July 2013 http://brusselsbriefings.net Aquaculture development trends and successes in the Pacific. Timothy Pickering, SPC
    2. 2. AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT TRENDS AND SUCCESSES IN THE PACIFIC Tim Pickering SPC Aquaculture Section Suva, Fiji Islands Brussels Policy Briefing no. 32 Fish-farming: the new driver of the blue economy? 3rd July 2013 Organised by CTA, the EC/DECVO, the ACP Secretariat and Concord
    3. 3. Purpose To provide ACP-EU policy-makers and representatives of EU Member States, civil society groups, research networks and development practitioners, and international organizations based in Brussels with a briefing on: 1. Successes and opportunities for the Pacific islands countries and territories (PICTs) in aquaculture development; 2. Key challenges in developing aquaculture, and; 3. Responses and initiatives within the Pacific region that are deserving of international support.
    4. 4. SPC Aquaculture Section (i) maintains a regional network of contacts to exchange ideas, overviews and experiences on aquaculture issues both regionally and internationally (ii) supports through targeted training and technology transfer the establishment of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture enterprises by Pacific government departments and/or private sector (iii) provides a regional support service to help members assess, manage and mitigate the potential impacts of aquaculture, including exotic introductions and quarantine.
    5. 5. 1. OPPORTUNITIES FOR PICTs • Pacific islands region is geographically of a similar scale as Africa • PICT’s have much fewer people, but a LOT more water! • Our people are fish eaters – strong domestic market base for aquaculture
    6. 6. Pacific regional characteristics  Small land area, a lot of ocean and reef  Hotspot of diversity in biota and culture  Some PICTs have significant inland populations (PNG)  Many PICTs have small populations (e.g. 1000 pax)  PICTs place high priority on aquaculture for sustainable development  Aquaculture will never be “big” like Asia, but can have a big impact in small economies EEZs of SPC-member Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs)
    7. 7. Successes • PICT aquaculture is worth around USD 200 - 250 million per year in total • Dominated by blacklip pearl and marine shrimp (90% of value). • Dominated by 3 places; French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea (tilapia)
    8. 8. Successes • Kappaphycus seaweed culture is well established in the outer-island provinces of Kiribati, Fiji, PNG and Solomon Islands • Low in value, but high in socio-economic impact in small-island micro- economies.
    9. 9. Successes • Nile tilapia is being cultured mainly in Papua New Guinea and Fiji, and also Cook Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Vanuatu, Guam, Sa ipan and Northern Marianas. • As coastal fish become scarce, consumers are increasingly accepting of tilapia
    10. 10. Successes • Freshwater prawn Macrobrachium is being cultured commercially in Fiji • Hatchery technology now being transferred to Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu with SPC assistance
    11. 11. Emerging commodities • Marine ornamentals like coral and live- rock, clownfish Vanuatu • Mud crab, spiny lobster • Sea cucumber (beche-de- mer) re-stocking trials underway in Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Kiribati. Kappaphycus seaweed production in Fiji Islands
    12. 12. Food security • Culture of lower-value fish for food security is gaining higher priority • Reason is decline in the coastal fisheries with which PICTs were once blessed • Drivers are overfishing due to population increase, and impacts on coral reefs of climate change. Tilapia Milkfish
    13. 13. • Small-pond aquaculture of lower-trophic-level fish like tilapia or milkfish is one of three major strategies to help close a widening “fish gap”: – increased local landings of tuna catch in PICTs – low-cost inshore Fish Aggregation Devices – small-pond aquaculture • Small-ponds deliver fresh fish right to the doorstep
    14. 14. Pacific progress Compared with two decades ago: • At least 5 commodities are able to make money • Aquaculture facilities are now established • People are now trained • We have a track record of successes and failures from which lessons can be learned • Peoples’ liking for freshwater fish is increasing. • There are regional technical programmes, and regional training opportunities (SPC, USP, private-sector).
    15. 15. Opportunities • Sites for aquaculture are plentiful. • High biodiversity and many unique species • Largely disease-free status due to isolation • Small-scale livelihoods opportunities for communities are contained within larger aquaculture businesses (e.g. pearl spat catching, pearl handicrafts, custodianship of re-stocked sea cucumbers, etc). • Small niche-market opportunities for exports of unique species
    16. 16. 2. CHALLENGES “Least aquaculturally developed” • Globally the oceanic Pacific comes last of any FAO statistical region in terms of aquaculture production and value • Within the Pacific region, two territories out of 16 PICTs account for more than 90% of value • Yet the Pacific region has vast aquatic resource potentials
    17. 17. Challenges • The Pacific has been slow to turn “potential” into “production”. (Not due to lack of support from governments or donors). • There is a tyranny of distance and scale that makes it hard to compete internationally via exports. But we can surely reduce imports? • R&D has been too much on fish and not enough on people. • Not enough emphasis on private sector uptake. • Govt depts. need to better clarify their roles, and create environments for private investment (where-ever possible).
    18. 18. • Availability of farm inputs is a major constraint (feed, seed, capital, equipment) • Export markets are distant (only pearl is unaffected by this) • Domestic markets are relatively small (there are some exceptions, e.g. Fiji, PNG). • Marine finfish remain difficult (even for SE Asia) due to complex life histories and tricky larval phases. • Indigenous freshwater finfish have marine ancestry, therefore complex life histories, tricky larval phases • PICTs have unique species, that export markets are quite unfamiliar with (they want shrimp, sea bass)
    19. 19. Main cross-cutting issues* • Biosecurity species introductions aquatic animal diseases • National planning for aquaculture • Aquaculture statistics • Economic assessments and marketing (particularly barriers to market access). *Identified in regional consultations jointly facilitated by SPC and FAO
    20. 20. Biosecurity • Pacific does not have a long tradition of aquaculture whereby local species have been domesticated • Pressure to introduce species from elsewhere. • To develop, yet also protect biodiversity in PICTs, there is a strong need for responsible practices. • Regional capacity in biosecurity is very limited
    21. 21. Top-5 aquaculture commodities in PICTs • Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus • Freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii • Seaweed Kappaphycus alvarezii • Blacklip pearl Pinctada margeritifera • Marine shrimp Litopenaeus stylirostris
    22. 22. Biodiversity and Food Security • Internationally there are tensions and contradictions emerging between: – the need to produce more fish for food security through fisheries and aquaculture, and – the potential effects of fisheries and aquaculture development on biodiversity. • International initiatives to protect aquatic biodiversity typically call for – reductions in the amount of fishing, and/or – only local species to be used for aquaculture. • International initiatives to protect food security call for – fisheries production to be sustained or increased, and – use of the most efficient varieties for aquaculture.
    23. 23. Biosecurity and barriers to trade • Efforts were made by PICTs through SPC in 2009 to highlight the importance of the marine ornamental trade, and to comply with new EC disease regulations. • E.g. derogation was successfully sought by SPC from the EU requirements that all live-aquatic exporting countries be members of OIE (because only 5 PICTs are OIE members!) and all consignments be accompanied by a disease certificate. • SPC is now assisting these countries to comply with EU requirement that non-OIE countries be able (through WAHIS) to carry out reporting that meets OIE standards in order to export. • MESSAGE: EU requirements need to carefully consider unexpected yet avoidable impacts upon “micro-states” ability to comply.
    24. 24. Aquatic animal health – SPC is increasingly interested in the work of the FAO and of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health – E.g. to improve inter-regional and international links for rapid-response testing for crustacean virus outbreaks – the Pacific region has very limited capacity to detect and manage diseases of aquatic organisms – The Pacific currently has no formal networks in place to enable timely detection of disease
    25. 25. National planning and governance • Most PICTs lack the strategic governance framework required for aquaculture development – no aquaculture legislation – complex marine tenure systems – no formal processes to allocate space or consider objections • Most PICTs have Aquaculture Development Plans which define R&D, training, and economic priorities, but they do not address legislative issues. • Many past aquaculture projects were initiated without sound assessments of economic viability
    26. 26. Statistics: Indicators of progress • Aquaculture statistics and indicators of contributions to food security, livelihoods and GDP are very difficult to collect in the Pacific, and has not been systematic • Aquaculture sections of PICT governments find it hard to make a case for allocation of budgets and resources to support their sector • Much more effort needs to be put into collecting, storing and disseminating statistics for PICT aquaculture production, value, livelihoods, gender
    27. 27. Reduce reliance upon subsidy • Small household level aquaculture for subsistence consumption is only viable with on-going government support and subsidy of farm inputs • Even so, household aquaculture for food security is seen as important - governments continue to support it • The next challenge is to add a layer of viable SME-scale commercial-market aquaculture for peri-urban markets • Farm clusters, lead farmers, are promising strategies in Africa and Asia – these are only now being adopted in the Pacific • Need to boost the commercial angle of “aquaculture as a business” as much as possible, and avoid subsidy *EU IACT+ • LESSON: Aquaculture is more suited to commercial than artisanal approaches – the “inputs” need to be paid for.
    28. 28. Climate change • Mariculture will be adversely affected over next 100yrs by seawater acidification, warming, an d storminess • PICT mariculture can adapt (to an extent), but profit margins will be reduced
    29. 29. Climate change • Freshwater aquaculture among high-island PICTs will be a “winner” of climate change, due to projected warming and increased rainfall in SW Pacific • Freshwater aquaculture for food security and livelihoods can itself be an adaptation to the effects of climate change on coastal fisheries
    30. 30. Open ocean cage culture • Governance arrangements for high seas sea cage farming are not yet clear • PICTs have a lot of ocean “real estate” within EEZs for sea cage farming. • PICTs need advice: in what way can we engage in sea cage farming to derive maximum benefits from it? • PICTs would be concerned about a “race for space” whereby ocean cage aquaculture becomes locked up by those nations currently with the technical capacity to develop this new sector (international-law parallels with seabed mining)
    31. 31. 3. Pacific responses • SPC has associate membership of Network of Aquaculture Centres of Asia-Pacific NACA, on behalf of PICTs, and has MOU with OIE • SPC and FAO are collaborating with PICTs on improved regional arrangements for – aquaculture networks – biosecurity – statistics • PICTs are formalizing national aquaculture plans, and some are developing aquaculture legislation
    32. 32. Pacific regional aquaculture network – SPC and FAO have jointly developed a Regional Aquaculture Action Plan [in press] to coordinate and target agencies’ engagement in the Pacific – The Plan has specific actions which will now need resourcing to improve the level of aquaculture governance and development in the Pacific islands region
    33. 33. • FAO and SPC are now looking for resources and appropriate mechanisms to implement the identified national or regional activities – Assist in the development of a regional biosecurity framework to include an assessment of capacity and performance survey – Capacity building for fisheries and aquaculture statistics (collection and reporting at national level) – Establish PICTs sub-regional aquaculture networks (e.g. Micronesia network as a starting point) and strengthen collaboration with other regions (i.e. through NACA, SEAFDEC, WFC, etc.) (additional development partner support is invited)
    34. 34. Other priority actions across PICTs (additional development partner support is invited) • Economic assessments: urgently increase capacity to assess the economic viability of aquaculture projects • Feed and seed – a central distribution centre (“regional hub”) for PICTs? • Legislation – assistance with drafting, and provision of model-law templates • “Bricks&mortar” construction/upgrade of aquaculture infrastructure is needed to increase capacity in biosecurity (but most development partners prefer to only fund training workshops) • Export-market jurisdictions to please be mindful of inadvertent heavy-handed impacts of new import-regulation requirements on PICT “micro-economies”
    35. 35. Promoting a business-like approach • SPC is implementing the EU-funded Increasing Agriculture Commodity Trade IACT project, which has an aquaculture component. • This enables engagement directly with enterprises to over-come technical and business-literacy capacity constraints • IACT is a new approach for SPC, which normally works through counterpart government ministries.
    36. 36. Outlook for Pacific islands aquaculture • Pacific islands aquaculture will always be small by global standards • Within micro-economies, a small amount of aquaculture can have a large impact in peoples’ lives • There are clear aquaculture successes in our region • Aquaculture governance needs to be improved in PICTs • Best success occurs if aquaculture is run as a business • Lessons from Africa and Asia, applied to the Pacific, will ensure that the contribution of aquaculture to food security, livelihoods, climate change adaptation, and exports will continue to increase.
    37. 37. Thank you

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