Intensive cage farming

About 80% of trout farmers use cage farming, which principally occurs in Lake Titicaca in the Puno department. Farmers use cages in lakes with a slow streaming waters. For export purposes there are very few companies involved. Both in Puno, Piscifactorías de los Andes and Patsac have their farming operations in Lake Titicaca. Due to the high level of illegal, informal and unregistered farmers it is impossible to give exact numbers of hectares and farmers involved. There are about 2,284 registered farmers with 2,045 hectares but real numbers are much higher. The majority of them are small-scale farmers, but only the medium and large scale using intensive farming systems and are relevant for export. In terms of quality, there isn’t any difference between ‘pond’ and ‘cage’ farming.

Key features
Average stocking density

25 PL/m3

Average productivity

750-900 kg /ha/ year

# of crops per year

3-6 (continuous stocking, depends on possibilities and requirements of the company)

# of days per crop

About 11 months to reach 300-350 gr WR (national market) and about 13 months to reach 500gr WR (export market)

Harvesting season

All year round

Type of farmer

About 90% small scale farmers

About 8% medium scale farmers

About 2% large (export) scale farmers

Potential risks
  • Water pollution
  • Entry of diseases and waste from upstream villages
  • Lack of production plants nearby

Type of farmers

Along the Andes Mountains there are hundreds of small farmers (less than 1 hectare) with the capacity between 500 kg to 10,000 kg per year. They use all kinds of production systems, from extensive, semi-intensive to intensive. A big part of them are illegal, informal and unregistered by authorities. It is very difficult to reach a lot of places by which a decent sanitary control of small-scale farmers is almost impossible. Most of them use their trout for their own consumption or to sell it to local restaurants and small stores daily and fresh. Medium scale farmers, with an area between 1 and 5 hectares, are more formal and can sell their trout nationwide to the bigger cities like Lima, Cuzco and Arequipa. Normally also daily and fresh. Some medium-sized companies sell their harvests to the bigger companies like Piscifactorias de los Andes or Patsac which process and freeze the trout in their own production plant in Puno (like Piscifactorias de los Andes) or in public plants in Lima and/or Pisco (like Patsac). Both companies have their own ponds in Lake Titicaca and surroundings, with even more than 50 hectares each. There is no direct association between the farmers as confidence and mutual reliability in Peru is very difficult. Even the bigger producers with their own cages try to have everything under their own control.

 

Production and harvesting system

Farming in the bigger lakes like Lake Titicaca is done in metal cages with floaters of about 5x5x5m. The further away from the shore, the better for the trout and environment. Fingerlings are put in cages and as they grow a daily selection of size is made and fish are moved to cages with more trout with the same average size. When reached the best commercial size, the trout is being caught by hand, put in wooden or plastic boxes and transported to land by boat. From there, there is a direct sale of fresh trout to restaurants, supermarkets and small stores. Or, the trout is put in big cubes with ice and brought to the closest production plant. Farmers try to reach a weight of about 300-350 grams WR for the national market. However, for export purposes they try to reach 500 grams and even bigger.

Target species and byproducts

All farmed rainbow trout in Peru is the Oncorhynchus mykiss with no byproducts.

Stocking densities and productivity

Stocking is done manually using a stocking density of 25 PL per m3, reaching an annual production of 750-900 kg per hectare. Some companies stock every two months harvesting 6 times per year. Other companies prefer to stock every 3 months with 4 yearly harvests. Stocking, farming and harvests can take place year-round.

Use of seed, feed and other inputs

Until now, there are no reliable hatcheries or laboratories for reproduction in Peru. All eggs are being imported from countries like United States, Canada, Spain and Denmark. They arrive in technopor layered and conditioned boxes at 4ºC. The time from dispatch from origin country to the incubator in Peru takes a maximum of 72 hours. Only the bigger companies have incubators in which they grow the eggs to fingerlings of about 4-6 centimeters. They use these fingerlings for their own farming or sell them to smaller and medium size farmers. The survival rate from egg to a 300-350 gr WR trout is about 70%.

During farming, farmers use pellets composed of f.e. fish meal and grain from companies like Aquatech, Nicovita and Purina. There are tests going on using meal of squid (Dosidicus gigas). This meal has a very high percentage of protein and lowers the time of farming from 11 months to about 7 months to reach a trout of 300-350 gram. All farmers just throw the feed by hand. Feed conversion ratio is around 1.1:1 . Probiotics are not used but very few rarely some medicine is used against skin allergy.

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