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Marine fisheries production, although stagnating over the last two decades, has been contributing 55% of global fish production. Increased awareness of fish as a unique nutrient-rich health food, as well as source of quality animal protein, has stimulated the demand for fish in general and marine fish in particular. Over the last two decades, the Asia-Pacific region witnessed a spurt in fishing effort, resulting in dwindling fish catches. Although species richness, high fecundity and varied spawning peaks helped tropical marine fisheries overcome the challenges of higher fishing pressure, high exploitation of commercially important groups has caused serious sustainability concern. Climate change will also likely have considerable impact on fisheries sustainability. For marine harvests to keep growing, mariculture must also receive increased emphasis. Accessing extensive and reliable information on these vast and dynamic oceanic resources remains a challenging task. In this endeavour, the Asian Fisheries Society’s efforts, with support of partners, through the formation of AsiaPacific-FishWatch has been exemplary in generating and disseminating a wealth of information on the region's marine resources. While this comprehensive information base has been helping in drawing up strategic management plans for responsible fisheries by different countries in this region, I sincerely wish that the AsiaPacific-FishWatch will expand its scope and horizon in coming years by associating with more stakeholders involved with the sector.

- Dr. J. K. Jena, President, Asian Fisheries Society

JKJ

26 Nov

AsiaPacific-FishWatch breaks information barriers

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Two-thirds of the world’s fish are harvested or farmed in the Asia-Pacific region, yet information on the fish is often difficult to find, piecemeal and confusing. The Asian Fisheries Society and its partners set out to break through this critical information barrier by creating AsiaPacific-FishWatch. “We are bringing together essential and authoritative information on who produces the fish, how they are produced, processed, traded, and eventually end up in the diets of people all around the world,” said the President of the Asian Fisheries Society, Professor Huang (President of Shanghai Ocean University, China). “In this project, we welcome feedback from the public and experts, and collaboration from many partners.”

AsiaPacific-FishWatch (www.asiapacfish.org) is developing profiles of the most important types of fish and shellfish produced in the Asia-Pacific region, covering the seas, rivers, lakes and farms of the western and central Pacific ocean and the Indian ocean. The profiles are comprehensive and cover sustainability, production, supply chains, environment and climate, and biology. The aim is to explain Asia-Pacific fish products for consumers, the general public, fish exporters and importers, development agencies, fisheries managers and scientists.

P5100116 sm Pasar Berserhati ManadoThe project is launching with the profile of the region’s skipjack tuna fisheries (see skipjack), and will soon be followed by profiles of yellowfin, bigeye and albacore tuna that are in the final stages of preparation. The skipjack fisheries are among the largest fisheries in the world. The western and central Pacific skipjack fishery supplies the majority of the fish for the world canned tuna market. Susan Jackson, President of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) explained: “Skipjack schools make up the last remaining truly robust commercially fished stocks of tuna in the world, and protecting this species is especially vital to the economies of nations in the Asia-Pacific region. In order to build consensus around proactive, sustainable management measures for any species of fish, we must have open-access to the wealth of scientific data that exists. Cataloguing this information also helps us to identify voids, which ultimately promotes improved fishery data collection.”

All information in AsiaPacific-FishWatch is reviewed by the top experts in each commodity and subject. It is non-partisan and does not engage in advocacy. Its content emphasizes information relevant to sustainability and people in the supply chain.

Background Information

Website: http://www.asiapacfish.org/

Twitter: @AsiaPacFish

For more information Contact:

Dr Meryl J Williams, Director AsiaPacific-FishWatch, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lead agency:

Asian Fisheries Society, http://www.asianfisheriessociety.org/

c/o Laboratory Marine Biotechnology, Institute of Bioscience

Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, MALAYSIA

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