Graduate Student Profile: Fred Chu
by Steve Sempier
red Chu, a native of Peru, first learned of the PD/A CRSP while working in the Peruvian Amazon for Terra Nuova, an Italian nongovernmental organization. Terra Nuovas activity focuses on aquaculture development in the region. While working with Terra Nuova, Chu was approached by Chris Kohler, a PD/A CRSP Principal Investigator at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC), who is a collaborative partner with Peruvian counterparts at the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana (IIAP) and the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana, both in Iquitos, Peru. Kohler invited Chu to pursue a Ph.D. at SIUC.
The Peruvian Amazon is an excellent area for aquaculture. Chu notes several reasons why the Peruvian Amazon is an ideal location for aquaculture: the extremely high fish consumption per capita (the highest in Peru), water in abundance, land, a growing market, a growing interest in aquaculture, and ultimately there is strong political support to develop this activity. Chu also notes that he first gained interest in aquaculture because of its economic growth in the area and its benefit to ecological systems due to the reduced pressure on natural stocks. Although there is motivation for aquaculture development, Chu notes several constraints. They include lack of basic information on the biology, physiology, and nutritional requirements of the cultured fish; poor technology transfer to farmers; few professionals acting in an extension capacity; and low availability of fry.
Chu will be working with many individuals who are active in the PD/A CRSP project. He appreciates support from several PD/A CRSP researchers as he pursues his Ph.D. Chu identifies Kohler, William Camargo (Coordinator of the PD/A CRSP Peru project), and Fernando Alcántara at IIAP as important contributors to his work. In fact, Chu will return to Peru and work at IIAP after he obtains his Ph.D.
Chu plans to live in Peru after he completes degree requirements but is also open to future opportunities in an academic or research setting in Brazil or the US. For now, he is focused on his project and classes and tries to find free time to play Peruvian and Latin American songs on his guitar with his friends.