Biodiversity: Its Importance in Fisheries Aquaculture

Ghifari Al Afghany

“Biodiversity Assessment Assistant”

Fisheries aquaculture is an industrial activity with significant economic potential, driven by high market demand for its products. In this industry, the cultivation of fish is inseparable from the use of ponds, tanks, or cages as production media. The development and activities in these production areas require attention, as with any other industrial sector, due to their potential impact on the environment.

To address potential environmental changes, one crucial aspect is the effort to preserve biodiversity around production areas (ponds, tanks, cages, etc.). By striving to maintain biodiversity in the production environment, we can anticipate ecological damage and its potential impacts on human activities, including the fisheries industry, in the future.

Several examples of ecological damage that may occur without efforts to preserve biodiversity around aquaculture areas include:

Emergence of Invasive Species

Invasive species are introduced species that experience an excessive increase in population, posing a threat to the natural ecosystem in a region. These species can appear due to the intentional or unintentional release of introduced species into the surrounding habitat. Invasive species can lead to a decrease in the number of native species, causing extinction. The decline in the number of native species occurs because invasive species enter the food chain, consuming native species at trophic levels below them and displacing native species in their predation roles in that area. This imbalance disrupts the ecological cycle, resulting in damage. An example of an invasive species commonly found in water bodies is the snakehead fish.

Loss of Ecological Functions in the Area

For example, many aquatic cultivation activities involve converting mangrove forest areas. This activity is equivalent to eliminating the natural function of mangrove forests because aquaculture cannot replace the natural functions of mangrove forests. Mangrove forests play several crucial roles, such as preventing land erosion, serving as a spawning

ground for large fish, contributing to the carbon cycle, and more. The loss of mangrove forests can cause serious environmental problems. Therefore, it is essential to consider the ecological function of the area in the development and management of aquaculture.

Decrease in Protected Species

Some protected species, both animals and plants, often have habitats close to aquaculture areas. Construction and production activities can threaten the existence of these species. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a site assessment to find solutions to ensure that development and production activities can proceed without compromising the sustainability of these species.

Emergence of Pests

Essentially, every environment has a continuous ecological cycle, and each vital element within it plays a role in maintaining environmental stability. Pest emergence occurs due to an imbalance in the ecological cycle in a particular area. For example, hunting snakes as predators can increase in the number of rats; hunting insect-eating birds can lead to an increase in plant-eating insects. These impacts can be avoided by considering the sustainability of the ecological cycle without disrupting it.

As a manifestation of awareness of the importance of preserving biodiversity around production locations, industry players need to collaborate with relevant parties to plan and execute steps appropriately for sustainable production while maintaining environmental concerns. In planning, several stages need to be undertaken, including:

Observation of the Environment around the Production Location

Observation is necessary to understand the biological conditions around the production area. This activity involves observing and recording the biodiversity present in the production area. Direct observation is conducted to obtain information about the current conditions, supplemented by interviews with local communities to gather historical information.

Analysis of Production Location Conditions

Information obtained from the observation is then analyzed to provide more detailed information. Through analysis, additional data on the area’s conditions based on

observation findings can be obtained, such as the discovery of protected species, knowledge of the environmental sustainability index based on biodiversity, historical location data, and so forth. The analysis results also refer to recommendations for actions related to the existing conditions.

Designing Steps and Policies

Based on the observed and analyzed information, data on the biological conditions in the cultivation area are obtained, along with recommendations. This information becomes the basis for planning policies and production strategies for long-term sustainability. After the planning stage is completed, the execution stage can be carried out by implementing production based on the policies and strategies designed, considering the biodiversity conditions around the production location. Thus, the hope is that industry players can manage their activities sustainably, in line with their efforts to preserve the surrounding environment.

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