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Abstract

Global fish production, consumption trends, and the trade in seafood products are dominated by the developing world, particularly Asia. The importance of fish to the poor as an affordable and readily available staple food and as a source of livelihood opportunities is rarely well documented and all too often under-weighted in the development decisionmaking process. The rapid pace of change in Asia renders the poor particularly vulnerable under such circumstances The world’s seas now appear to have reached their production limits, with most of the major capture fisheries assessed as fully exploited or operating beyond sustainable limits. With future prospects for further sustained growth in landings at best limited, aquaculture is being targeted as the engine for growth in fish supplies to meet the growing gap between supply and demand. The recent performance of the aquaculture sector has been outstanding and expectations for future performance remain very high. Sustainability is critical to both sectors, and research has a major role to play in helping individual countries, communities and farmers meet and maintain their production goals for both sectors. There is an important ongoing role for Australia in helping the developing world to find workable and sustainable solutions to many of these problems and challenges. The ACIAR partnership model provides a good example of research that can deliver real impacts in the development context. ACIAR, an element of Australia’s overseas aid program, is broadly engaged across many of the identified areas of research need in fisheries and aquaculture, with a primary focus on Asia, PNG, and the Pacific islands regions. Areas of past and ongoing research where significant community impacts have been achieved include assessment and management of shared fish stocks; reservoir fisheries, combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; the fostering of new livelihood opportunities in mariculture and disease control for sustainable smallholder shrimp farming.

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