Surrounded by the Andaman Seas, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Ocean, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region’s ecological health and sustainable use of water resources will be extremely important for continued economic development. Threats to the sustainability of the shared waters and its resources will have consequences for the livelihoods and food security of ASEAN citizens.  The threats and opportunities are especially important for small-scale fishers and farmers who contribute to over 40% of production.

In March, senior ASEAN officials and private sector representatives met and agreed to form an ASEAN Public-Private Taskforce for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture to promote collaborative approaches to achieve sustainable growth of the region’s fisheries and aquaculture industries. The taskforce was established through the support of the USAID-funded MARKET project, part of the global Feed the Future initiative.  

With the establishment of this taskforce, small-scale fishers and fish farmers will have a louder voice in policy determinations. Their views on sustainable use of infrastructure investments, and marketing improvements will be made known to senior government officials and regional organizations.

ASEAN governments have long recognized the importance of including private sector stakeholders in policy discussions, but the voices of small-scale producers have often been excluded. Dr. Le Thanh Luu from the Vietnam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS) and other small-scale fishers and fish farmers are key members of the new ASEAN public-private taskforce.  As major stakeholders of the region’s fisheries and aquaculture sectors, small-scale fishers and farmers are very excited to contribute to the sustainability of the industry in the region through the taskforce.

 “Through participation in the taskforce, small holders in particular, will be empowered in its capacity and ability to take part in the process of policy and decision making,” says Dr. Luu.

The MARKET project works with ASEAN to accelerate the adoption of sustainable and responsible aquaculture practices, thus reducing the negative impacts of production, improving the social and economic situa­tion of fish farmers, and boosting the supply of sustainable, responsible and traceable aquaculture products. 

Related Website: Feed the Future