SAARC nations for technology use to fight climate crisis in fisheries - South Asia Time

SAARC nations for technology use to fight climate crisis in fisheries

 August 12, 2021  

Dhaka — The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries pitched for adoption of technologies to reduce the impact of climate crisis on fisheries and acquaculture, and sought regional cooperation for cross-learning.

A consultative meeting of fishery scientists representing India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bhutan held by SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC) has felt the urgent need for implementing strategies such as introduction of climate-friendly technologies in fisheries and aquaculture as well as measures for sustainable utilisation of the resources.

In the meeting, India stressed the need for applying artificial intelligence, bio-informatics, genetic and biotechnological tools, etc, in frontier areas of research to improve aquaculture and fisheries sector.

“The member countries have demanded for regional cooperation among the nations and a platform for cross-learning and knowledge sharing to check the fallouts in the best possible way in the time of climate change,” Md. Baktear Hossain, Director of the SAC said in a statement.

In marine fisheries, the need for capacity building for exploitation of deep sea resources was raised by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, scarcity of quality seeds and shortage of other input materials were the major gaps faced by the member countries in inland aquaculture, he said.

“Based on the discussions in the meeting, the SAC has come up with a set of recommendations to address such issues. Technical collaboration for knowledge sharing and capacity building among the SAARC countries and setting up of regional networks for seed bank and germplasm transfer are some of the suggestions, he added.

In the meeting, the experts voiced concern over dwindling marine catch and aquaculture production, environmental disruption in aquatic ecosystems and its rippling effect on livelihood of the stakeholders owing to climate change and associated developments.

They suggested that technologies of seaweed farming and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), including cage fish farming could be adopted to reduce the impacts of the crisis to a certain extent, it added.

The sector could use ‘green fishing vessels’ with built-in design features for energy saving and fuel saving technologies to reduce carbon emission, they added.

Grinson George, Senior Programme Specialist with the SAC said: There are scientific gaps inhibiting the implementation of rules and regulations for sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture.

“Some possible solutions can be looked upon in satellite remote sensing, numerical modelling, stakeholder perception, prioritisation of spatial sensitivity to ecosystems and many more with right interference from the stakeholders,” he added.

Referring to the existing disparity in socio-economic standards of the stakeholders, the SAARC body recommended for promoting discussions and cross-learning on strengthening ‘social-safety-nets’ with emphasis on ensuring socio-economic security of the stakeholders, and policies, laws and regulations harmonising between environment conservation and livelihood development.

Establishment of referral laboratories for aquatic animal health management, a centre of excellence in aquaculture and fisheries in the region and e-repository for information sharing were also listed in the recommendations.

Marine pollution, increased fuel prices, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, increasing length of value chain, resource crunch and lack of adequate infrastructure are some of the other major issues raised in the meeting by representatives of member countries.

SAARC Agriculture Centre is the first regional Centre established by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. ( Agencies )