Food for Thought: Triple-win aquaculture for economic, social, and environmental benefits

This talk seeks to address a key challenge in aquaculture development policies, which is the paradox of economic efficiency, social considerations, and environmental conservation. By examining data obtained from a household survey in Vietnam, Dr. Chu's study finds that mangrove aquaculture, if properly designed, can be a triple-win approach. The data showed that mangrove aquaculture offers the highest rate of return compared to other types of aquaculture farming, while requiring only a modest up-front investment, which is well-suited for the poor people. The data deduced that the best rate of return would be achieved if mangrove coverage were to be maintained at around 60%. This finding supported the view that there is no direct need for a trade-off between economic efficiency and environmental conservation. It differed from the common view of farmers that aquaculture farming would be more profitable with lesser mangrove. This indirectly improved the sustainability factor of food production in such ecosystem. Dr. Chu's findings provide important implications for aquaculture policies in developing countries and emphasize the importance of complementary programs, such as awareness enhancement and training, toward sustainable development objectives.

Dr. Chu is a senior lecturer at the Crawford School of Public Policy, the Australian National University. He is an applied economist focusing on the economics of environment and resource management. Dr. Chu specializes in quantitative methods, especially creating models to support policy making and the policy evaluation process in the Indo-Pacific region. His research has been published in the world’s leading journals such as Fish & Fisheries, Earth’s Future, Ecological Economics, and Environmental Modeling & Software. Dr. Chu has extensive teaching experience in many countries including Australia, Vietnam, and Laos. At the Australian National University, he has been teaching several Masters/PhD courses such as Mathematical Methods in Applied Economics, Applied Economic Dynamics, and Masters Microeconomics. Dr. Chu is also the recipient of a number of awards and honors, including the prestigious Eureka Prize in Australian science.

Please find the recorded video from Dr. Chu's Food for Thought seminar for your viewing pleasure: