“The potential contribution of aquaculture to rural development, food security, hunger eradication, poverty reduction and national economic development is enormous,” a senior FAO Fisheries Resources Officer, Rohana Subasinghe, said.However debates regarding negative environmental, social and economic impacts of certain kinds of aquaculture practices have also picked up. In 2001, FAO established a sub-committee on Aquaculture – the farming of fish and aquatic plants in coastal sea areas and inland waterways – to inform its work and to promote international discussions on the issue. “The ultimate objective of the sub-committee is to ensure that this important sector is developed in a sustainable, responsible and equitable manner, resulting in a product that is nutritious, affordable, acceptable, safe to eat and accessible to all sectors of society,” said Serge Garcia, Director of FAO’s Fisheries Resources Division.The experts, resource managers and policy-makers gathered this week for the sub-committee’s second meeting are seeking to promote wider use of responsible and sustainable aquaculture as a tool in the fight against hunger and poverty. The agenda includes a discussion on the implementation of best practices within the sector, and talks on creating better systems for recording statistics and promoting the sharing of information and technology. Also slated is a discussion of international strategies for improving the safety and quality of aquaculture products.