Questions and answers

According to Law No. 11,959/09, about the National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Aquaculture and Fisheries, "fishery is every operation, action, or act designed to extract, reap, catch, seize or capture fish resources".

Fishing is an ancient activity based on hunting and extractivism. It is based on the withdrawal of fish resources from their natural environment.

  • Artisanal fishery – characterized mainly by family labor. The catch has low technological levels;
  • Industrial fishery – catching of fish using medium or large vessels, it generally possesses high-tech equipment;
  • Sport or amateur fishery – aims at leisure, tourism, and sport, and not fish production or trade.

It is unanimous among scientists, government and the productive sector that there is a lack of primary and continuing information about fishery. Thus, according to the demands raised on the National Seminar of Demands Prospect for the Fisheries Supply Chain (2011), it is necessary to extend the knowledge and generate continuous statistical data about the sector that subsidize public policies, in addition to implementing a national fisheries monitoring plan.

The biggest challenge is to develop more efficient fisheries systems, in order to ensure the economic, social and ecological sustainability of the sector.

The legislation defines aquaculture as an "activity of cultivation of organisms whose life cycle under natural conditions is given in full or in part in the aquatic environment, implying ownership of the stock under cultivation, matched to the agricultural and livestock activity (...)".

Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic organisms: fish, crustaceans, molluscs, algae, reptiles and other forms of aquatic life of human interest, usually in a confined and controlled space.

  • Pisciculture – fish farming;
  • Shrimp farming;
  • Raniculture – Ranidae farming;
  • Malacoculture – molluscs, oysters, and mussels farming;
  • Algaculture – cultivation of algae. Method practiced on a smaller scale;
  • Chelonian culture – turtles and tracajá (Peltocephalus dumerilianus) farming;
  • Alligators farming.
  • North: tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum), pirarucu (Arapaima gigas), and pirapitinga (Piaractus brachypomus).
  • Northeast: tilapia (Pseudocrenilabrinae) and marine shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei)..
  • Midwest: tambaqui, pacu (Serrasalminae) and pintados (Pseudoplatystoma corruscans).
  • Southeast: tilapia, pacu and pintados.
  • South: carps (Cyprinus carpio), tilapia, jundiá (Rhamdia quelen), oysters, and mussels

Aquatic organisms cultivated in fresh and salt water have anatomical and physiological adaptations that allow their survival and full development in these environments. Some species also adapt in intermediate salinity environments, such as tilapia.

Aquaculture in freshwater can be practiced in ponds dug in the ground, in net tanks, water recirculation systems, in bacterial bioflocks system, or in greenhouses (mainly for ornamental fish). The most used cultivation systems in Brazil are in excavated ponds and in net tanks.

In salt water, the cultivation is usually done in net tanks, in the case of marine pisiculture. Structures for the creation of oysters and mussels are also installed directly into the marine environment. Marine shrimp farming is made in ponds dug in the ground, next to the coast. However, there are already technologies such as farming systems in bacterial bioflocks, which allow the creation of marine shrimps in places away from the coast.

The possibility of creating marine and freshwater species favors Brazil's performance in different market niches. Fish-producing countries use the natural resource available for farming. There are countries that have a vocation for marine aquaculture, showing no suitability for aquaculture in freshwater, and vice versa.

Brazil is a privileged country, since it possesses approximately 12% of all freshwater on the planet and more than 8,000 km of coastline, making it a great promise for the next years as a producer of animal protein from freshwater or saltwater aquaculture.

Brazil has native aquaculture species with great economic and productive potential, however, none of them also has scientific and technological information that allows the structuring of the production chain. Therefore, the main challenge of the national aquaculture research is to generate knowledge about genetics and improvement, reproduction, physiology, nutrition, sanitation, production systems, slaughter, processing and market related to these species. For this, the approximation of the research bodies to the productive sector and coordinated interaction among researchers within and outside of Embrapa are essential, generating knowledge and technologies to the agents of the production chain, with increasing efficiency.

Research in the areas of reproduction and genetic improvement for fishs, nutrition and feeding of aquaculture species with the production of more sustainable feed that minimize the environmental impact, management and conservation of fisheries resources, aquaculture species health, agroindustrial processing of fish, aquaculture production systems, treatment and reuse of wastewater and sustainable development of artisanal fisheries.

Aquaculture enables the production of more homogeneous products, traceability throughout the chain and other advantages that contribute to food security, in order to generate quality food, with planning and regularity.

As the activity demands for many natural resources like water, energy and soil, it is necessary to make proper management and rationalization. With this, sustainable aquaculture means to produce profitably with conservation of natural resources and the promotion of social development. The activity is considered by the National Environmental Council (Conama) as being of low impact and, therefore, simplifies the environmental licensing for enterprises in the area.

Brazil has 8,400 km of coastline and 5.5 million hectares of freshwater reservoirs. The availability of water resources, favorable climate, availability of workforce and growing demand on the internal market, are the main reasons behind the boost of aquaculture in the country, which is present in all Brazilian states.

The key point for Brazil to become a superpower in aquaculture is investment in research and technology. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aquaculture is the fastest way to produce animal protein, which makes it essential for the fight against hunger and for food supplies in the world.

Considering that, one of the research pathways has consisted in increasingly investing in the improvement of the gene pool. In other animal production chains such as cattle, swine, and chicken, genetic improvement was essential to achieve the level of advanced development in which these chains currently are.