Future Growth of Brazil's Aquaculture Sector Should Include IMTA

10 May 2016, at 1:00am

BRAZIL - Despite an economic crisis, Brazil's aquaculture sector has contined to grow at a fast rate of 8-10 per cent each year and with more than 8 million km of coast line, there is a big opportunity for the future growth of aquaculture in the country.

Although aquaculture production and the demand for seafood in Brazil is growing, there are still barriers which are limiting growth. Barriers include the issuing of licenses and permits.

Looking to the future, Professor Patricia Moraes Valenti, University of Santo Amaro and Sao Paulo State University, and Professor Wagner Valenti, Sao Paulo State University, explained that they believe Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) has a big role to play and that IMTA production should be encouraged and developed.

IMTA is, in their opinion, the future, as it is good for the farmers and the environment.

IMTA allows a different species to occupy and be grown in the same area, therefore using less space whilst also being a more sustainable system as the waste of one species feeds another.

Feed costs are very high in monoculture, explained Wagner. Feed usually accounts for up to 70 per cent of the total cost of production.

The technology is available for IMTA and people should start making more use of it.

At present, people tend to specialise in just one area. For example, some people enjoy working with just fin fish or just with mussels. It is therefore important that this generation of students are trained across all areas, and know the basic biology of a wide range of species so that they can apply this integrated vision.

For aquaculture students studying in Brazil there are a lot of opportunities. The University of Sao Paulo has very good facilities and scholorships available. Students in Brazil also do not need to pay tuition.

In the future, Patricia and Wagner noted that they would also like to see a move away from the farming of exotic species, which can harm the country's biodiversity, to more native species.

There should also be more research into aquaponics, as produces food and recycles waste, and into the production of algae, as it can be used for a wide range of things from feed and food to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.