Tilapia farming. (Photo: Niall Crotty)
Itaipu Reserve holds enormous potential for tilapia farming
Thursday, June 13, 2013, 22:30 (GMT + 9)
With the support of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (MPA), tilapia farming in the Itaipu hydroelectric dam could help double fish production across the country, and at the same time benefit aquaculture producers in western Paraná.
"We just need to release tilapia specimens in Itaipu dam to obtain a production of 400,000 tonnes just in the hydroelectric dam lake. Today, the country produces 500,000 tonnes," said the Minister Marcelo Crivella during the opening of the 1st Regional Meeting of the Federal Fisheries and Aquaculture Superintendents in the South and Southeast areas.
About 4,000 tonnes of fish are produced in Itaipu at present, "but this number should reach 400,000 tonnes," the minister stated.
In his opinion, the exploitation of only 1 per cent of the lake waters of Itaipu dam would be enough to double the national fish production.
For his part, Itaipu director general, Jorge Samek, highlighted it is proven that tilapia does not cause any environmental impacts. "It is found in large numbers in the river Paranapanema, and it is not predatory or carnivorous."
"We have 135,000 hectares of water and a scientific basis that can contribute to aquaculture development," he stressed.
In March, Samek received a petition with 1,800 signatures to launch tilapia farming in the reservoir. This request was transferred to Crivelli, who received other requests directly from the fishermen.
Meanwhile, Ivo dos Santos, of the Association of Artisanal Fishermen of Guaira and Region, explained that the artisanal fishing in the river no longer offers a livelihood.
"If tilapia is released, our income will improve. We hope there is also an improvement in the release of resources for them to reach the fisherman’s hands," he added.
Today there are 800 registered fishermen in Itaipu dam, but it is estimated that the actual number is much higher.
"A farmer produces a tonne of meat per year per hectare. In Itaipu we can produce 200 tonnes of fish per hectare per year. Itaipu is exemplary as to fish production with sustainability and environmental safety. Only the economic viability is missing," stressed MPA head.
By Analia Murias