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FAO Guide Aims to Improve Emergency Response in Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectors

FAOJune 2014: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a report, titled ‘Fisheries and aquaculture emergency response guidance,' which draws on lessons learned during responses to disasters that affected the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The guide aims to save the lives and livelihoods of people affected by disasters, climate change and human activity-related hazards, and humanitarian emergencies in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

Fishers and fish farmers generally have a high level of exposure to natural hazards due to their proximity to coastlines and waterbodies, according to the report. It states that global warming is predicted to increase fishers' exposure and the frequency and intensity of hazards they face. The report further notes that small-scale fishers and fish workers, who often live in developing countries, are quite vulnerable to hazards such as environmental degradation, food insecurity, pollution, poverty and resource over-exploitation.

The report outlines the importance of rebuilding fisheries and aquaculture for restoring: the sectors' contribution to food and nutrition security; fishers' livelihoods; local economic activity; and the safety net function of fisheries.

The report includes chapters on: key issues to consider when planning interventions in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors; and the vulnerability of these sectors to different hazards and potential approaches to disaster response, including holistic approaches and the objective of "building back better."

Chapters also address common best practices related to preparedness, responsible fisheries and aquaculture, flexibility and responsiveness, inclusiveness, and gender mainstreaming; and best practices on fisheries and aquaculture policy, fisheries management and fishing operations, aquaculture development and post-harvest practices and trade. The report provides technical information on planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating relief and recovery operations, including a checklist of best practices in disaster risk management (DRM).

FAO developed the guidelines following a meeting of experts in 2013. It is the first set of guidelines on emergency response for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. [Publication: Fisheries and Aquaculture Emergency Response Guidance]