Vientiane Times, 25 July 2013
Fisheries management in Laos requires more cooperation from concerned sectors and international organisations to ensure food security and income generation, a government official has said.
Laos is hosting the 21st Meeting of the Asean Sectoral Working Group on Fisheries (ASWGFI) for sustainable fisheries development and management in Laos and the greater region.
The meeting will run for three days from July 24-26 in Vientiane with participation from Asean member state delegates, the Asean Secretariat, and regional and international institutions related to fisheries management.
“As we are all aware, fish and aquaculture species are a staple food of our people and its capture provides direct livelihood benefits to hundreds of thousands of families in this region and others around the world,” the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Office Head Mr Khamphanh Meuanhsithida said at the meeting.
Its production and trade bring a good income to the fish business operators and this plays an important role in the daily lives of Lao people and contributes to national economic development, he said.
He added that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals call for Laos to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and to ensure environmental stability.
Two of the most recent challenges to achieving these goals are related to food security and climate change. Both challenges require urgent, innovative and holistic responses.
Last year, the Lao agriculture sector was affected by severe weather systems that damaged a large number of irrigation schemes and destroyed crops and fish ponds throughout the country.
Nevertheless, agricultural and fisheries production was still satisfactory, said Mr Khamphanh.
“In order to improve the country’s fish production, it is also important for our government to work closely with our development partners in order to win the continued support needed to help achieve set production targets.”
“The Lao government is interested in the outcome of this meeting and I would like to assure you that Laos will give a high priority to participating in the follow-up activities.”
He expects that the meeting will provide an effective strategy and innovative and pragmatic guidelines that will assist all Asean member countries to better implement fisheries management plans.
“All of us with a common interest in sustainable fisheries management should endeavour to make it contribute even more to the development of rural communities and provide a continuous source of aquatic food and material for our people.”
In order to sustainably manage our fishery resources, the Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF) developed the Policies Framework for the Fisheries Sector following the publication of the updated National Agriculture and Forestry Developm ent Plan (2012-2020).
This is in accordance with the Rectangular Strategy of the Lao Government for Poverty Alleviation, said the DLF Director General, Dr Bounkhouang Khambounheuang.
The aim of increasing fish production targets to meet the daily demands of the people and also maintain the stability of the fisheries environment is extremely important in the country at present.
The government is currently encouraging farmers to breed net fish supplies to 28,000 tonnes per year, or 76 tonnes per day, which would be sufficient to satisfy domestic market demand.