Coastal fisheries and their associated ecosystems have encountered dramatic changes in recent decades in South and Southeast Asia, in particular changes arising from the introduction of motorization and highly productive new fishing gears. This expanded use of capital-intensive technologies has created region-wide problems of overexploitation of the resource base and includes significant bycatch; non-targeted fish and other animals that are unintentionally caught in fishing, then discarded or retained. Habitat destruction and over exploitation of fisheries are considered two of the greatest and most pervasive threats to the balance of coastal ecosystems today. There is growing consensus that approaches for fisheries management take an ecosystem approach.
Mangroves for the Future is a partnership based initiative promoting investment in coastal ecosystems for sustainable development. MFF promotes healthy coastal ecosystems for a more prosperous and secure future for coastal communities. Within this context the linkage between coastal ecosystems, fisheries and human well being are of direct interest and importance to MFF.
In light of the concerns for coastal fisheries, the MFF National Coordinating Body of India proposed to the MFF Regional Steering Committee (RSC) to hold a regional expert meeting to explore ecosystems based approaches to management and conservation of fisheries and marine biodiversity in the Asia Region. The Symposium aims to draw out knowledge from the countries in South and Southeast Asia and to share lessons and practical solutions for tackling the complex issues. The RSC endorsed the proposal from India, and proposed to hold a regional Symposium in India in October 2013.
In follow up to the decision MFF, Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project (BoBLME), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) worked in partnership to design and organize the regional fisheries Symposium for October 2013.
The main theme(s) of the Symposium is directly in line with the promotion of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (the Code) which calls for the sustainable use of aquatic ecosystems and requiring that fishing be conducted with due regard for the environment and promoting the maintenance, safeguarding and conservation of biodiversity of ecosystems by minimizing fisheries impacts on non-target species and the ecosystems in general. It is also directly in line with the subsequent International Guidelines on Bycatch Management and Reduction of Discards published by FAO in 2011 and the International Plan of Action-Sharks (FAO).
For more information, please refer to the Prospectus Document in the 'Related Documents' column on this page.
Fishermen going back home after sunset, life-style of coasta ... , Trat Province, Thailand © MFF / Siriporn Sriaram, 2011