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Commercial aquaculture in Southeast Asia: Some policy lessons


  • Hishamunda, Nathanael
  • Ridler, Neil B.
  • Bueno, Pedro
  • Yap, Wilfredo G.


Globally aquaculture has been increasing rapidly and already accounts for nearly half of all food fish consumed. For developing countries, which produce 90% of the world's output, aquaculture is a source of protein, employment, income and of foreign exchange. Southeast Asia is an area which has experienced this "blue revolution". Total aquaculture output in the region increased from less than two million tonnes in 1990 to more than eight million tonnes in 2006. Moreover, the region's pace of expansion has accelerated. Annual average growth rates in output from 2000 to 2006 were more than double those from 1990 to 2000. Already more than a quarter of food fish in Southeast Asia comes from aquaculture. Aquaculture matters because fish products are important in the diet of much of Southeast Asia. The population generally has a high per capita consumption of fish, and fish are a major source of animal protein in a region where levels of animal protein are below the world average. Output from the capture fisheries has increased but growth rates are slowing. To maintain present levels of per capita consumption of fish in the region, whose average population is projected to grow by 16% by 2015, requires continued expansion of aquaculture. The paper focuses on commercial or profit-oriented aquaculture. It produces protein, but also rural employment and income. It also has the potential to generate taxes for governments and foreign exchange, and by improving economic efficiencies and competitiveness hold down the cost of aquatic products. Contributing to food security, rural livelihoods and economic growth, aquaculture is an important and growing sector in the region and merits study. It is hoped that lessons learnt can be useful to other parts of the world.

Suggested Citation

  • Hishamunda, Nathanael & Ridler, Neil B. & Bueno, Pedro & Yap, Wilfredo G., 2009. "Commercial aquaculture in Southeast Asia: Some policy lessons," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 102-107, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:34:y:2009:i:1:p:102-107

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hishamunda, Nathanael & Ridler, Neil B., 2006. "Farming fish for profits: A small step towards food security in sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 401-414, October.
    2. World Bank, 2005. "The Little Data Book 2005," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 12428, December.
    3. repec:wbk:wbpubs:12424 is not listed on IDEAS
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    2. Dey, Madan M. & Spielman, David J. & Haque, A.B.M.M. & Rahman, M.S. & Valmonte-Santos, R., 2013. "Change and diversity in smallholder rice–fish systems: Recent evidence and policy lessons from Bangladesh," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 108-117.
    3. Thilsted, Shakuntala Haraksingh & Thorne-Lyman, Andrew & Webb, Patrick & Bogard, Jessica Rose & Subasinghe, Rohana & Phillips, Michael John & Allison, Edward Hugh, 2016. "Sustaining healthy diets: The role of capture fisheries and aquaculture for improving nutrition in the post-2015 era," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 126-131.
    4. Joffre, Olivier M. & Poortvliet, P. Marijn & Klerkx, Laurens, 2019. "To cluster or not to cluster farmers? Influences on network interactions, risk perceptions, and adoption of aquaculture practices," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 151-160.
    5. Thompson, Benjamin S., 2018. "The political ecology of mangrove forest restoration in Thailand: Institutional arrangements and power dynamics," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 503-514.
    6. Thi Thu Hang NGO & Huu Cuong TRAN & Hossein AZADI & Philippe LEBAILLY, 2016. "Aquaculture Land-Use Policy: The Case of Clam Farming in Thaibinh Province, Vietnam," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 8(12), pages 1-12, December.
    7. Shahriar abdullah & Dhrubo Barua & Md Sazzad Hossain, 2019. "Environmental Impacts of Commercial Shrimp Farming in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh and Approaches for Sustainable Management," International Journal of Environmental Sciences & Natural Resources, Juniper Publishers Inc., vol. 20(3), pages 84-92, July.
    8. Barbier, Edward B., 2012. "A spatial model of coastal ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 70-79.
    9. Naylor, Rosamond & Fang, Safari & Fanzo, Jessica, 2023. "A global view of aquaculture policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    10. Thompson, Benjamin S. & Primavera, Jurgenne H. & Friess, Daniel A., 2017. "Governance and implementation challenges for mangrove forest Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES): Empirical evidence from the Philippines," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 146-155.

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