PROGRAM FOR AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT
Aquaculture sub-sector has significantly contributed in employment generation and livelihood development. In 2008, aquaculture production is 2.4 million metric tons, 1.6 million of which is seaweeds. The value aquaculture for the same year is almost 82 billion pesos. There are about 230,000 operators in the aquaculture industry''''s estimated 500,000 fishers are seaweed farmers making this industry a significant alternative livelihood opportunity. As a general rule, one hectare of fishpond generally supports 1 fishpond worker.
The government&rsquos Aquaculture for Rural Development program puts a premium on market-oriented production, which is virtually an aquaculture for export&rdquo policy. Lack of regulation resulted in uncontrolled expansion of intensive aquaculture operations in the country&rsquos coastal areas. This in turn, has wrought massive social and environmental costs , such as widespread loss of mangrove areas , saltwater invasion of underground water aquifers , subsiding land due to water loss and coastal resource degradation.
Lack of regulations delayed the development of good aquaculture practices. Aquaculture malpractices such as overstocking and overfeeding have persisted. . These led to overcapacity, fish kills and marine pollution from fishpond effluents. Concerns about potential negative impacts on the environment, communities and consumers are now gaining ground in international and regional fora, dialogues and discussions. Consumers are now demanding for aquaculture commodities that are sustainably farmed and ensured of quality and safety.
Towards effecting Policy and Practice Changes in the Aquaculture Industry
Tambuyog developed its own criteria which can be used in identifying policies and regulations to improve development and management of aquaculture. It could help local stakeholders and decision-makers identify and choose the most appropriate production/culture system based on particular conditions of target site. As Tambuyog aims to achieve a balance of profitability, social acceptability and ecologically sound aquaculture development projects, the following criteria/factors/standards should be observed:
Foreign exchange generated
Contribution to GDP / GNP with considerations to cash flow, profit and loss
Jobs created by aquaculture production
Jobs lost &/or incomes foregone due to environmental impacts
Distribution of benefits
Feed conversion ratio
Profitability over an acceptable period of time
Impact on mangrove ecosystems is minimized
Pollution is mitigated
Impact on ground water utilization is negative
Carrying capacity/ scale
Impact on capture fisheries
Incorporates sound technology and management
Adaptable technology &ndash a system that can easily be understood, applied, and can be controlled
Beneficial to a large number of people
Loss of use rights to local community
Accessibility/Affordability of capital input of business venture
These criteria are currently being reviewed and strengthened in line with the tenets of sustainable aquaculture. Its application is contingent upon species-specific and site-specific requirements on sustainability, equity and fairness. Product certification standards and schemes will have to be observed.