The Role of Species and Systems in the Development and Growth of Aquaculture in Asia: Needs and Prospects
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During the previous three decades aquaculture development in Asia was characterized by a broad spectrum of users, systems, practices, and species through a continuum ranging from backyard household operations to industry-scale commercial systems. These systems produced the largest quantities of affordable food fish for domestic markets and home consumption in the world, making aquaculture one of the fastest growing food-producing subsectors in the region. With a steady growth of 9–11% per annum, Asia’s aquaculture constitutes 90% of the global farmed fish output. Urbanization, a rising middle class, and growth of export trade have had a major impact on the choice of species and systems, including postharvest technologies.
This paper reviews the current practices in Asian aquaculture and emerging trends in species and systems against a backdrop of changing structure of demand, supply, and trade. It examines key issues concerning the role of aquaculture as an engine for economic growth in rural areas of developing Asia. Taking examples from South and Southeast Asia, the paper also analyzes the prospects and needs of the sector by identifying key technological, socioeconomic, and policy factors that will enhance its role in providing animal protein, employment, income, and foreign exchange to the economy and its population.