Consolidating the Strategies for Fishery Resources Enhancement in Southeast Asia, Proceeding of the symposium on Strategy for Fisheries Resources Enhancement in the Southeast Asian Region, 27-30 July 2015.
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Healthy aquatic ecosystem is a prerequisite for sustainable fisheries production. Southeast Asia is endowed with highly-productive fishery resources sustained by its highly-productive tropical ecosystems such as dense mangrove forests, seagrass beds, extensive coral reefs and riverine systems that run through fertile lands of the region. These ecosystems play critical roles in supporting the life cycle of a broad range of aquatic organisms — from breeding, spawning, and nursing up to growing; as feeding zones of aquatic organisms; and serving as important source of recruitment for wide diversity of aquatic organisms. Nevertheless, we have seen many cases of environmental degradation that comprise one of the causes of decline in wide variety of fishery resources in the region. Environmental degradation and decline of fishery resources are not only caused by natural fluctuations but also due to anthropogenic activities that include continued practice of over-exploitation, illegal fishing, destructive fishing, and environmental destruction, including massive clearance of mangrove forests. Such man-made activities could have economically benefited certain groups of people in a limited period, but in the end, such reckless activities in pursuit of immediate benefit would completely destroy the supporting role of aquatic ecosystems which assures healthiness and sustainability of the fishery resources. As a result, the fishers continue to suffer as their catch continues to diminish not only in terms of quantity but also in size and value, leading to food instability.