The Impacts of Aquaculture Development on Households

Impacts of Aquaculture Development

Without long-term evaluation exercises or other longitudinal studies, it isimpossible to assess thehuman ecological i.mpactper se of aquaculture development. This is a task for the future. At this stage in the development of a paradigm for that purpose, potential impacts of aquaculture development on households, its intracommunity consequences and, from these levels, feedback to and impacts on external influences, as manifested in modifications to policy, programs and projects, or in the provision of supplementary inputs to aquaculture or complementary physical and institutional infrastructures, are examined. These can all be regarded as indicators, although not amenable to precise measurement, of the human ecolo~cal consequences of aquaculture development.

Innovations such as aquaculture may be most easily introduced and have the least social environmental impact, other things being equal, into communities where land and improvements to it, as well as access to water resources and thelike, are vested in the individual. The degree to which an individual will be permitted use of land owned by the extended kin group or the community varies according to tradition and particularly to conditions within ethnic groups brought about by recent or ongoing socioeconomic change. Members of most developing-country rural societies are still bound by traditional kinship obligations, which they can ignore only at their peril. The fundamental sociological element in many developing-country societies is the extended family, that forms a village or hamlet, commonly based on a founding lineage or its descendants.

Access to Resources

In Zomba District of Southern malagi, 76% of fish farming households have a tahl land holding of more than 2 ha, and only 16 have 1.0 ha or less (Banda 1989). Most fishfarmers thereforehave relatively large land holdings. Those with less than 0.8 ha who practice fish farming usually do so because they have a piece of waterlogged land not suitable for crop production. Such people are usually young and lack experience to obtain additional land ofbetter quality. Thus few fish farmers are in the subsistence household category (defined as having less than 1.6 ha), since they are unwilling to risk adoption of an as yet unproven innovation and only 10.5% of those sampled are in the “below subsistence category” (defined as having less than 0.8 ha).

The Emergence of Entrepreneurship

A rare case of household entrepreneurship on a large scale in an old-established aquaculture system is well illustrated by changes that have occurred during the last decade in the dike-pond system of integrated farming in the Zhujiang(Pear1 River) Delta of Guangdong Province, southern China (Ruddle and Zhong 1988).

Last word

From late 1978 there occurred in rural China a progressive repudiation of the notion of a highly collectivized and egalitarian society and the concomitant beginnings of amixed economy. Inessence, the reforms decollectivized many agricultural practices, transformed from de facto to de jure the status of the individual family as the fundamental rural economic unit, and removed the controls that prevented households from freely marketing surplus production. However, to make these simple changes at the household level requires important changes at higher levels in the system. Amongthe most important ofthese are the regular and sufficient supply of concentrated feed to local pond operators from the newly opened factory in the county; the adoption of concentrated feeds as a consequence ofrepeated and successful demonstration effects; a continued market for household produced and surplus excrements that would absorb these surpluses as they continued to increase with the wider adoption of concentrates; the ability to divert sugar cane waste to other productive industrial uses (e.g., pelletized feeds); and the industrial use of silkworm waste, among others.

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