Trout farmed in an intensive pond system in Junin, Peru. Photo by: John van Herwijnen.
Farming of Peruvian trout occurs in the entire Andes mountains. Hundreds of small farmers are illegal, informal and unregistered which makes it very difficult to control this sector. Therefore, it is impossible to make a reliable estimation of total surface involved. Officially registered, there are 2,284 farmers with 2,245 hectares in total, but in reality, it might be the double amount. The majority of farmers don’t even have 1 hectare, a very few have 5 hectares and there are only 2 companies (Piscifactorías de los Andes and Patsac) with more than 50 hectares each.
There are three main areas: Puno, Huancavélica and Junín. In Puno, farmers use cages of 5x5x5m in the lakes, especially in Lake Titicaca, like the old-fashioned cages in the Mekong river in Vietnam for pangasius. The water in the lake comes from 3-4 big rivers. Due to the slow stream in the lake, the water is ‘renewed’ continuously. Nevertheless, it is proved that the cages close to the shore cause more water pollution than the cages far away from the shore. Tourism is already claiming that trout farmers are causing damage to Lake Titicaca, in terms of pollution and deteriorating the open wide view of the lake.
In Huancavélica and Junín farmers use closed ponds in rivers, taking advantage of the water coming in from above and going out below. As the ponds are normally at a higher level than the villages and mines, the incoming water is always clean except with heavy rainfall). Some companies, like Consorcio Junín, filter the water before going out downstream. Regarding quality, there isn’t much a difference if farmed in ponds or in cages.
Until now, there are no companies with a GlobalG.A.P. or ASC certification although Consorcio Junín is implementing the GlobalG.A.P. standards. Piscifactorías de los Andes has a BAP certified farm.