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Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FI) in FAO

Fisheries and aquaculture have the capacity – if supported and developed in a regulated and environmentally sensitive manner – to contribute significantly to improving the well-being of poor and disadvantaged communities in developing countries and to achievement of several of the Millennium Development Goals, especially those related to poverty reduction and food and nutrition security, environmental protection and biodiversity. As part of a long-term strategy, the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FI) is envisioning a world in which responsible and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources makes an appreciable contribution to human well-being, food security and poverty alleviation. In this regard, FI works towards strengthening global governance and the managerial and technical capacities of members and to lead consensus-building towards improved conservation and utilization of aquatic resources. The activities of FI reflect the main FAO mandate of managing knowledge and information, assuring a global neutral forum for Members and providing technical assistance at national, regional and global levels.

In addition, the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department undertakes capacity development activities for marine and inland fisheries as well as aquaculture. These include training at different levels, preparation of training and extension materials for general or targeted training, awareness raising through workshops, and collaboration with partner training institutions.  The FI is also involved in the development of appropriate technical guidelines and the promotion of participatory approaches in sustainable and responsible aquatic resources management, including gender aspects.

The Aquaculture Branch of FI (FIAA) is particularly responsible for providing technical assistance towards sustainable and responsible aquaculture development and management in support of improving food and nutrition security and alleviating poverty, globally.

The Products, Trade and Marketing Branch (FIAM) of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of FAO, assists FAO member countries on all aspects related to post-harvest. FIAM provides technical assistance in areas such as marketing, trade, handling and processing and preservation of fish products, food safety and nutrition. As such, FIAM supports activities along the value chain aiming at a sustainable supply of fish and fishery products in the market, while securing greater benefits for actors in the value chain. FIAM has broad experience in the field of promotion fish consumption, through the dissemination of knowledge on the nutritional value of fish and fishery products, including the promotion of good hygienic practices at any level of the supply chain (on board canoes/vessels, landing sites, aquaculture farms, factories and sales points).  Local fishermen and processors are assisted to adapt best practices in order to reduce food losses and waste, and to promote an optimal use of their fishery by-products, improving their returns, minimizing the environmental impacts and contributing to food security. Finally, as fish and fishery products are among the most traded food commodities worldwide, FIAM coordinates the implementation of Globefish, a programme collecting and disseminating information on markets and fish trade. Globefish produces a number of publications including fish price reports (European Fish Price Report), market studies (GLOBEFISH Research Programme) and trend analysis (GLOBEFISH Highlights).


Contact person: 
Aquaculture Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resource Division
Contact email: 
Contact person: 
Alessandro Lovatelli (Aquaculture Branch)
Contact person: 
Aina Randrianantoandro (Products, Trade and Marketing Branch)

Technologies from Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FI) in FAO


Método del cultivo hidropónico simple no circulante para vegetales

El presente documento es una traducción de la versión original en inglés (http://teca.fao.org/read/8825). El cultivo hidropónico es el método más común de cultivo de plantas agrícolas sin tierra, que incluye el cultivo de plantas sobre un sustrato o en un medio acuoso con raíces desnudas. Los métodos hidropónicos no circulantes, sobre todo, no requieren electricidad ni una bomba. Con el método presentado en este documento, se puede cultivar todo el cultivo con sólo una aplicación inicial de agua y nutrientes. No se necesita agua o fertilizantes adicionales. Normalmente, el cultivo termina cuando la mayor parte de la solución nutritiva esté consumida. Este documento proporciona dos detalladas descripciones paso a paso de kits del cultivo hidropónico simple no circulante para el cultivo de hortalizas a pequeña escala, uno para vegetales de ciclo corto (por ejemplo, lechuga o kai choy) y otro para hortalizas de ciclo largo (por ejemplo, pepino o tomate).

Making farm-made fish feed for small-scale farms

Fish feed/aquafeed is one of the most expensive inputs for small aquaculture farms. At the same time it is one of the most important components, especially for the whole aquaculture ecosystem. This is also true for aquaponics because the fish feed sustains both the fish and vegetable growth. The technology below provides two simple recipes for a balanced fish feed for use in small-scale fish farms or aquaponic systems. The first formulation is made with proteins of vegetable origin, mainly soybean meal. The second formulation is mainly made with fishmeal. In addition, the technology provides a selection of live fish feed to supplement the pelleted feed. This technology of farm-made aquafeed production is most appropriate for small-scale aquaculture farming, and is best used when commercial feed is difficult or expensive to obtain.

Simple non-circulating hydroponic method for vegetables

Hydroponics is the most common method of soil-less culture (growing agricultural plants without the use of soil), which includes growing plants either on a substrate or in an aqueous medium with bare roots. Non-circulating hydroponic methods, importantly, do not require electricity or a pump.
With the method presented in this document, the entire crop can be grown with only an initial application of water and nutrients. No additional water or fertilizer are needed. The crop is normally terminated when most of the nutrient solution is consumed.
This document provides two detailed step-by-step description of simple, non-circulating hydroponic growing kits for growing vegetables at a small scale, one for short term vegetables (e.g. lettuce or kai choy) and the other for long-term vegetables (e.g. cucumber or tomato).

Aquaponics in Indonesia: Bumina and Yumina systems as an integrated farming technique combining vegetables, fruits and fish

Fish farming is an important commercial as well as subsistence activity for many households in Indonesia. Many families have small fish ponds or concrete fish tanks for raising tilapia, catfish, gourami, snakehead and eels which are used for the family’s own consumption and sales to markets. Bumina and Yumina, a form of aquaponics, uses the water from these fish tanks to irrigate and fertilize vegetables in a recirculating system. Water is pumped from the fish tank into planters (without soil) and the water returns to the fish. The farmer is able to add a secondary crop (vegetables/fruits) and also the fish have cleaner water so they can grow faster and denser. This is a sustainable technology highly recommended for areas with restricted water provision and land availability. Aquaponics is an efficient use of limited resources.

Aquaponics is conducted around the world, but the specific practice of Bumina and Yumina was developed by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in Indonesia. The information of both technologies was taken from the book: “Yumina and Bumina: Innovation for Household Food Security”.

Fish Powder

Fish is a good source of micronutrients, essential omega 3 fatty acids and high quality protein. Apart from processing fish fillets, many fish processing companies dispose of the fish byproducts (fish head, bones, viscera, frames and skin). Development of low cost, nutrient dense and safe fish products from byproducts is gaining in popularity. In Uganda and Ghana, fish byproducts are dried and milled to create a powder. Such powder has high levels of micronutrients, particularly calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron as well as vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids. Micronutrient deficiencies are a problem in Uganda and Ghana and thus enriching staple foods with nutrient dense fish powder offers an opportunity for combatting malnutrition amongst various populations at a relatively minimal cost. The following practice demonstrates the product of powder fish by-products.

Diseño de un sistema aquapónico

Un sistema aquapónico es la integración de un sistema de recirculación en acuicultura con hidroponía en un sólo sistema de producción. En un sistema acuapónico, los efluentes de la acuicultura no se liberan en el medio ambiente, sino que se redirigen a las raíces de las plantas, al mismo tiempo que los nutrientes suministrados a las plantas provienen de una fuente sostenible, rentable y no química. Esta integración elimina algunos de los factores no sostenibles presentes en la hidroponía y acuacultura como sistemas independientes. La tecnología presentada en este documento tiene como objetivo proporcionar los conceptos básicos de acuiponía y, describe tres métodos de acuiponía en los cultivos actuales más comunes. La siguiente descripción también detalla los factores a considerar, al elegir dónde instalar el sistema de acuiponía y los elementos esenciales que deben tenerse en cuenta para implementar esta instalación, con independencia del tipo de acuiponía.

Fish and their Byproducts

Fish is a unique source of micro-nutrients. However, many parts of larger fish, such as the head and the bones, are discarded during fish processing despite the high levels of nutrients, and particularly micro-nutrients found in these parts. Thus the promotion and use of fish byproducts to create low-cost, high-quality food could help reduce malnutrition. This practice illustrates the nutritional benefits of incorporating fish byproducts in the diet and suggests recipes to guide their preparation.

Management of the Aquaponic Systems

Aquaponics is the integration of recirculating aquaculture and hydroponics in one production system. Although the production of fish and vegetables is the most visible output of aquaponic units, it is essential to understand that aquaponics is the management of a complete ecosystem that includes three major groups of organisms: fish, plants and bacteria. This document provides recommendations on how to keep a balanced system through the proper management of these three organisms. It also lists all the important management phases from starting a unit to production management over an entire growing season.

Deep Water Culture Aquaponic Unit – Step by Step Description

Aquaponics is the integration of recirculating aquaculture and hydroponics in one production system. The Deep Water Culture (DWC) is one of the three common methods of aquaponics being utilized at the present, generally implemented at large-scale operations. This technology provides a detailed explanation of the main components of this method and a step by step guide to construct a Deep Water Culture.

Nutrient Film Aquaponic Unit – Step by Step Description

Aquaponics is the integration of recirculating aquaculture and hydroponics in one production system. The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is one of the three common methods of aquaponics being utilized at the present, suitable especially for small–scale commercial environments. It is often utilized in vertical growing systems where floor space is limited. This technology provides a detailed explanation of the main components and a step by step guide to construct a small–scale aquaponic unit using this method.