Perspectives and Economic Potential of Aquaculture of Tilapia: Experience in North-eastern Brazil Useful to Other Regions of the World
M.A. IGARASHl, M.A. DE OLIVEIRA AND J.J.S GURGEL
Brazil is an important producer and exporter of pork, beef and chicken, and fish is gaining way in to this field due to its gradual increase in production as a result of aquaculture. In 1996, tilapia was the mostly cultivated species representing approximately 32% of the total production of cultured fish. Hence, aquaculture, especially the culture of tilapia is showing considerable growth contributing significantly to socio-economic development and food production in Brazil as in many other regions of the world. Nevertheless, most of the consumers as well as the producers are continued to be misinformed of the positive aspects of aquaculture of tilapia, such as socio-economic development, generation of employment opportunities and foreign exchange earnings.
Around 70 % of the country has a tropical climate, which favours the rapid growth of tilapia. Further, Brazil possesses a large number of inland water bodies, which represents approximately 12 % of inland waters of the world. As such large amount of aquatic habitats of fresh water is available for aquaculture. Tilapia is a major source of animal protein for to about 44 million people living in this region.
The objective of this study is to evaluate the contribution of tilapia for the culture and capture fisheries in the north-eastern region of Brazil, especially in relation to socio-economic aspects. With adequate investment and management, aquaculture of tilapia can be successfully carried out in an environmentally friendly manner for the socio-economic stability in this region. The experience in the north-eastern region of Brazil will be very useful to develop tilapia culture in other regions of the world to combat protein malnutrition of the people and to generate foreign exchange through exportation of the product.