Farming

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Shrimp ponds in Brazil. Photo by: John van Herwijnen

In Brazil the major part of the shrimps farming takes place in the north-east area at the Atlantic Ocean and Amazon Delta. The State of Ceará is the main producer, accounting for almost 50% of the total production (42,000 tonnes), and is followed by the State of Rio Grande do Norte. Here one can seed and farm all year-round. There are about 3 big scale farmers with more than 500 hectares, 200 medium scale farmers with more than 100 hectares and about 1,000 small scale farmers with less than 100 hectares. The farmers use the semi-intensive system although some companies are doing test with intensive farming. The biggest volumes for export purposes, about 60%, are produced by the 3 big scale farmers among which are Camanor Lda., Grupo Fernandes Vieira and Potiporá. Brazil still doesn’t have a massive farming and production capacity like Ecuador. However, there are still thousands of hectares designated for shrimp farming which could boost production and export, if financial investments can be made by private companies and public authorities.

After arrival at the farms, the larvae are put in tanks in order to adapt to the local circumstances like temperature and water conditions. The larvea are stocked with a density of about 20 to 30 pieces per 10 liters of water and maintained continuously aerated during 10 to 15 days. There is a continuous control on parameters like temperature, oxygen, salinity, pH, nitrite, ammonia, femtoplankton, zooplankton, etc. Every 2-4 times a day the larvae get their feed with concentrated pellets on a fixed tray in the pond. The adequate way of handling enable the little shrimps to reach a survival rate of more than 90% during this stage. Water is let in with a filter of maximum 0.5 mm and the shrimps are stocked in these grow-out ponds with a density of 20-70 shrimps per square meter. All farmers are close to the coastal area and rivers from in the Amazon Delta with low salinity from where they use water taking advantage of the tides to have the water in the ponds renewed continuously. It takes about 3 days to have all water in a pond renewed once at least. The shrimp need between 70 to 150 days to reach a commercial size of 7 to 25 grams. When the shrimps are at a commercial size, there is a test of commercial conformity (carcase, colour, etc) and it is decided to start harvest. Colour is a bit redder than Ecuador, but less than Peru. International recognized certifications like ASC and GlobalG.A.P. are not very common yet as their main national market does not require it. After each harvest, the ponds are emptied, cleaned and disinfected.

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