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Psiculture and aquaculture
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Favorable market conditions, technical ability and both input and aquaculture areas (such as Itaipu reservoir) largely available ensure Brazil as one of the highest continental aquaculture growth potential in the world. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognizes such potential by arguing that Brazil might be among the world's largest fish producers in a few decades.

This scenario is possible due to the high farming growth rates, as in the western Paraná where there is close to 20% increase a year making the state the country's largest aquaculture pole by farming 112 thousand tons in 2017 (ref.: Anuário Peixe BR da Piscicultura, 2018).

Fish farming is not only highly efficient in producing biomass per area unit and in generating and distributing income, but it has also become a tool capable of reducing the fishing pressure on native stocks by supplying more and more the demand for fish once the marine and continental extractive fishing have failed to develop.

 

Itaipu's Fish Farming in Our Waters program is based on the search for economic and social development related to the conservation of natural resources. In this context, the ordering of aquaculture activity in the reservoir (creating aquaculture areas and parks), the use of closed systems, such as biofloc and aquaponics, the efficient use of water in other processes of the chain and last but not least the use of native genetic heritage (researching on native species) are some of the themes marking out the Paraná fish-farming sustainable development oriented institutional actions.

By focusing on sustainability and the reservoir's real potential for increasing its fishery farming in accordance to research, Itaipu has expanded its supporting and fostering actions to the first native fish farming works. The first farming protocols date back to the 1980s with the beginning of fish farming in a net cage system. The first three aquaculture parks of the Brazilian territory were subsequently created in the Itaipu reservoir.

These steps have allowed the company to make a progress in research, training, fishermen/fish farmers training and improved processing and marketing techniques, which is reflected on the strengthened fish farming chain, quality of life and increased individual and family incomes.

Pacu was the species that showed the best zootechnical, adaptation and productivity indexes among the native species. As a result, Itaipu reservoir has become the greatest productive pole of this species in a net cage system by currently farming 200 tons a year.

Many benefits have been achieved. In addition to enabling the transition from fishing to farming, the proposed technology has met the needs for food security in riverside communities, such as the Ocoy indigenous community, where the net cage system enables an annual farming of 10 tonnes.

Other native species under study have shown a zootechnical and economic potential, such as the Lambaricultura, which has stood out in the current national scenario as one of the fastest growing farming activities. All produced technological content is widely disseminated through technical assistance and countryside extension promoted by Itaipu and/or its partners.

In the most recent research, Itaipu has incorporated new farming technologies in closed systems drastically decreasing the effluent emission in water bodies. One of these research fields promotes the fish farming allied to vegetables production, known as aquaponics.

Another closed system under study is the BFT (Biofloc), which consists in stimulating the other organisms present in the water to maintain the balance necessary for farming a great amount of fish with the minimum use of water and effluent production.

Thus, the Fish Farming in Our Waters program's goal is the socioeconomic development in the area of influence through aquaculture sustainable models to provide great gain to the area by conserving the biodiversity heritage and natural resources, and to fishermen, small farmers, and indigenous communities as far as quality of life is concerned.

The objective of the psiculture initiatives is to development techniques of artificial reproduction of native fish species, planting in the Itaipu reservoir and in other bodies of water to maintain the quantity and variety of fish.
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