Sustainable Aquaculture


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

Food security

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

Social Factors

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.