Scales from paiche, Arapaima gigas. (Photo: T.Voekler - CC BY-SA 3.0)
Paiche farming intended to be encouraged
Friday, March 22, 2013, 03:20 (GMT + 9)
Thanks to the combined efforts of some companies and government authorities, paiche production in the Ucayali region now amounts to about 50 tonnes per year, highlighted the regional director of Fisheries, Gino Bustillas.
Therefore, local producers aim to promote this fish farming, which is also known as pirarucú or arapaima (Arapaima gigas). Paiche is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, measuring up to three metres in length and weighing about 250 kg.
"We're still starting with the promotion of this activity because not many farmers are making investments," the official pointed out, according to Andina agency.
In 2008 a project was launched to rescue paiche in the lagoon Imiría in Masisea district, which concluded in June 2012.
In the course of this year, the experts will determine whether repopulated paiche specimens were able to reproduce and interbreed with native specimens.
At this stage of the project, the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP) is responsible for conducting the genetic studies.
"There are a lot of reproducers and fry, but what is missing is to determine whether the native specimens have been interbred with the repopulated ones," Bustillas stressed.
The lagoon Imiría used to have good paiche populations, but overfishing reduced the abundance of this fish.
To promote the resource recovery 454 specimens were stocked and reproductions are being obtained in the same natural environment.
Besides, another project was developed aimed at paiche fingerling breeding, which ended on 31 December last year.
During this initiative nine private farmers and three institutions were given reproducers.
"There are some farmers who are performing the gradual return of the investment by exchanging fingerlings for reproducers, and that is helpful to further promote ‘paicheculture' and at the same time to develop the activities with other farmers who want to venture into the business," Bustillas said.
Furthermore, the Association of Exporters (ADEX) reported that in 2012 paiche export contributed almost USD 1.5 million, that is to say, 314 per cent more than in 2011, when about USD 360,000 was obtained.
To the US paiche was exported for USD 1.2 million, which represented 82 per cent of the total amount sent abroad by Peru.
This country was followed by Hong Kong with USD 147,950 (9.9 per cent of the total); Indonesia is the next one with USD 36,917 (2.5 per cent), and Japan follows with USD 32,362 (2.2 per cent).
For ADEX Service and Capture Industries manager, Percy Sánchez, this resource is emerging as a major national export product as a result of being one of the most sought types of meat by gourmet restaurants in the world.
By Analia Murias