Aquatic biodiversity can be defined as the variety of life and the ecosystems that make up the freshwater, tidal, and marine regions of the world and their interactions. Aquatic biodiversity has enormous economic and aesthetic value and is largely responsible for maintaining and supporting overall environmental health. Human have long depend on aquatic resources for food, medicine, and materials as well as for recreational and commercial purposes. Further aquatic organisms also rely upon the great diversity of aquatic habitats and resources for food, materials, and breeding grounds.
Depletion of aquatic biodiversity has become the most important environmental issue of the century, given the devastating impacts it has caused all over the world. Factors including overexploitation of species, pollution from urban, industrial, and agricultural areas, the introduction of exotic species, as well as habitat loss and alteration through damming and water diversion all contribute to the declining levels of aquatic biodiversity in both freshwater and marine environments. As a result, valuable aquatic resources are becoming increasingly susceptible to both natural and artificial environmental changes. Thus, conservation strategies to protect and conserve aquatic life are necessary to maintain the balance of nature and support the availability of resources for future generations.
Overexploitation of species affects the loss of genetic diversity and the loss in the relative species abundance of both individuals and groups of interacting species. The population size gets reduced because of disturbances in age structure and sex composition. Efficient gear removes quick growing larger individuals, which leads to decrease average size of individuals in a population as well reduces the genetic diversity. Farming aquatic fauna and flora in aquaculture minimize such effect on environment as it contributes immensely for catering the increasing demand of aquatic products for present and future needs of growing world population.
In dealing with protection of aquatic biodiversity, international cooperation and knowledge sharing with regard to new developments in the field are essential, as no single nation alone can deal with the complicated impacts associated with this global issue. The Code of Conduct (CoC) adopted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization for sustainable fisheries management provides guideline for all necessary measures to be taken care in fisheries and aquaculture practices in the world in order to minimize effect on aquatic biodiversity. The 4th International Conference on Fisheries and Aquaculture 2017 (ICFA-2017) organized by The International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM) will be held with the theme ‘Depletion of Aquatic Biodiversity and Aquaculture as a Decisive Remedy’, as there is a big challenge ahead of us in facing the impacts of certain anthropogenic activities such as overexploitation, habitat modification and pollution loading into aquatic environment. All of ours responsibility is to protect aquatic biodiversity while minimizing aforesaid activities along with enhancing best management practices in aquaculture by the end of the century.
One of the key goals of the conference is creating dialogue among those involved in research and development activities in aquatic biodiversity and aquaculture, nationally and internationally. As the Co-chair of the conference I hope this event will create continued dialogue during and beyond the ICFA-2017, with the participation of local and international scientists. Through this event, it is envisaged to share and disseminate information relevant to research and development experiences encompassing important areas such as food security and small scale aquaculture, fish and human health, over fishing and ecosystem degradation, climate change and aquatic biodiversity, technological advances in aquaculture and challenges in aquatic health management etc. I wish to invite the representatives of the universities, research institutes, and governmental- and non-governmental institution including the young scientists, to submit your abstracts, present and share your valuable experiences with us during the ICFA-2017, making it a great success.
Dr. Saman Bandara Athauda
Department of Animal Science,
Faculty of Agriculture,
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka