Brazil aims to become leading aquaculture producer

At last week’s Brazilian Council for Aquaculture and Fisheries meeting in Brasilia, Brazil’s Secretary of Planning and Planning Aquaculture, Felipe Matias, revealed some preliminary plans to boost the country’s aquaculture production to 2 million metric tons (MT).

SeafoodSource recently spoke with Matias about the Ministry of Fisheries’ Aquaculture Development Plan 2020. Matias is not able to release specific components of the plan until after it is officially launched in late June, but he outlined some of the country’s goals for aquaculture growth.

Why is there such great potential for aquaculture growth in Brazil?

The great differential in Brazil is the huge potential we have in more than 200 reservoirs with water under Union domain. Only these reservoirs can produce more than 2 million tons per year.

What steps will the government take to increase production to 2 million tons by 2020?

We have some steps like improving the aquaculture production through Federal concessions in federal waters, improving fish culture in ponds around all the five regions in the country; improving shrimp culture in rural areas; improving oyster and mussel culture, and improving oyster and mussel culture in the coastal areas.

What other measures will be implemented as part of the Development Plan 2020?

We will have some actions to improve all the value chain through what we are calling (Aquícola Industrial District – DIA), in which we are trying to attract investments, not only from Brazilian agribusiness, but also from international companies that already work in aquaculture around the world.

Please explain how environmental licensing can help increase aquaculture production.

There is a legal framework, which is responsible for giving a basis to the states’ environmental agencies to give these licenses. The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture is only talking to make this framework clear to some agencies, because some of them do not have experts in aquaculture. So, we are visiting the Brazilian states, an effort that has a big potential to improve aquaculture production and give them the information about what they can have in production, jobs and income, if they put forward the procedures of this legal framework.