Aquaculture in Brazil: past, present and future
Aquaculture in Brazil probably started in the 17th century, during the Dutch occupation of the northeastern region. Currently, this activity can be divided into five main sectors, defined by tradition and type of cultured organism: freshwater fish, marine shrimp, mollusks, freshwater prawns and frogs. Production in 2019 was estimated at 800,000 tonnes, representing a gross revenue of US$ 1 billion. Freshwater fish is predominantly produced, followed by marine shrimp. The main farmed species are Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum) and the Pacific white leg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Other species have great local socio-economic importance. The bulk of production comes from small farms: more than 80 % have less than 2 ha. Brazil has more than 200 thousand freshwater fish farms, about 3000 marine shrimp farms, and about 100 aquaculture research institutions. A large domestic market is available for edible fish and shellfish, ornamentals, baitfish and hatchery-reared juveniles for biomitigation purposes. The challenge is to develop truly sustainable production systems to support a perennial industry. New technologies, including digital devices and simple disruptive innovations, can increase productivity and support the shift to a circular economy, bioeconomics and sustainability supported by science-based innovations and knowledge.