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Peru Project
PD/A CRSP Nineteenth Annual Administrative Report

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Research Projects
Peru Project

Subcontract No. RD010A-12

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois

Christopher C. Kohler US Principal Investigator, US Regional Coordinator
Susan T. Kohler US Principal Investigator
Marcos J. De Jesus Research Associate (through February 2001)
William Camargo Research Associate (from March 2001)

The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Konrad Dabrowski US Principal Investigator
Jacques Rinchard Postdoctoral Research Associate

Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana, Iquitos, Peru

Salvador Tello Host Country Principal Investigator
Fernando AlcántaraHost Country Principal Investigator
Palmira Padilla PerezAquaculturist (through January 2001)
Rosa IsmiñoAquaculturist (from February 2001)
Lamberto Arevalo Technician
Cesar A. Flores Technician
Arturo Flores Huang Technician

Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana, Iquitos, Peru

Marina del Aguila Host Country Principal Investigator

Site Background

The Peru Project has been active since 1996 and is located at Iquitos, in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon (Loreto Region). The lead US institution, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC), collaborates with the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana (IIAP) and the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana (UNAP). In the past ten years IIAP and UNAP, along with the Peruvian government, have produced thousands of fry and have developed various aquacultural techniques. Colossoma and Piaractus are considered by local aquaculturists as the best fish for commercialization in the tropical part of Peru. (Tilapia have been introduced to all six USAID-presence countries in South America. However, they are illegal in the Peruvian Amazon basin.) Current research examines practical diets and densities for pond culture, examines gamete quality and spawning requirements, and conducts yield trials and cost analyses of various stocking densities.

Work Plan Research

The following Ninth Work Plan investigations continued into the current reporting period:

This subcontract was also awarded funding to conduct the following Ninth Work Plan investigations:

Note: The schedule for 9NS3 has been modified. The revised schedule appears in the Addendum to the Ninth Work Plan. The studies grouped under the research study code 9NS3, "Spawning and grow-out of Colossoma macropomum and/or Piaractus brachypomus," are collaborative efforts among the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB; under Subcontract No. RD010A-13), The Ohio State University (as a sub-project administered by Subcontract No. RD010A-12), and SIUC. The following report addresses rearing and reproduction objectives; the objective regarding local feeds is addressed in the 9NS3A report submitted by UAPB (see p. 51). The results of 9NS3 and 9NS6 have been combined into one report.


In conjunction with the September 2000 External Evaluation Panel Peru Project site visit, CRSP researchers discussed the impact of the project in the region and in the host country institutions with President of INAP Dennis Del Castillo, President of Consejo Nacional del Ambiente (CONAM) Luis Campos Baca, and IIAP Fisheries Biologist Vitor Montreuil. They also met with collaborating biologists Padilla and Ismiño.

The Peru Project participants also met with President of UNAP Jose Torres Vasquez, mayor of the Province of Maynas Ivan Vasquez Valera, Regional Director of the Ministry of Fisheries Julio Tapia, and Assistant Director Carlos Cabrera to discuss the respective roles of their organizations in the CRSP project and future involvement in aquaculture activities in the region. They additionally interviewed some of the families producing fish on the Napo–Mazan Road.

The researchers met with Marco Colace Bucchi of the Italian nongovernmental organization (NGO) Terra Nuova and Director of the Food Security Program (PROSEAL in its Spanish-language acronym). Colace, Terra Nuova Sociologist Elizabeth Lozano, and two extensionists discussed the extension work taking place on the Iquitos–Nauta Road. The group then traveled the road to visit several beneficiaries of the program and met with Baldomero Sanchez, Reogildo Panaifo, and Romero Palla, who were very pleased with their fish production and grateful for the continuous support they receive from the extension program. Technical assistance was provided to fish producers along the Iquitos–Nauta Road regardless of their affiliation with PROSEAL.

Camargo traveled to Iquitos to familiarize himself with the host country research facilities. He gave two presentations on the importance of live food production to IIAP administrative personnel and another presentation to extensionists, UNAP students, and tropical fish exporters. Finally, he made recommendations for the construction of the new fish hatchery and prepared future experimental materials.

Fingerlings produced at IIAP Quistococha are being distributed among PROSEAL members with additional support from Terra Nuova and other local organizations.

Educational Outreach

Alcántara enrolled six students from three Peruvian universities to conduct their undergraduate practical training in Iquitos. These students came from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Universidad Nacional Federico Villareal in Lima, and UNAP.

Alcántara and Padilla participate routinely in weekend workshops for high school students and regional farmers involved in local extension projects. Padilla also teaches aquaculture mini-courses to high school students in the Iquitos region.

Alcántara provides technical support to future and existing fish farmers involved with the local extension project. His expertise has guided farmers to generate successful fish crops.

Thirty producers were trained in Colossoma and Piaractus culture in Nauta, Peru, in a one-week workshop presented by PROSEAL extension agents and Alcántara with PD/A CRSP support.

The manual "Reproduccion Inducida de Gamitana y Paco" was printed with CRSP support and is currently being used as an extension manual by IIAP collaborators.

Landowners visit IIAP facilities to request technical support or to inquire about workshops that are offered. Many have benefited from the opportunity offered by IIAP and the NGOs to initiate small farm operations on their lands.


Kohler, C., M. De Jesús, S. Kohler, L.B. Campos, and F.Alcántara. Culture of Colossoma macropomum in South America. Presented to Aquaculture America 2001 at Orlando, Florida, 21–25 January 2001.
Molnar, J.J., Fernando Alcántara, and S. Tello. Small-scale aquaculture in the Peruvian Amazon: Marketing practices and strategies. Presented to Aquaculture America 2001 at Orlando, Florida, 21–25 January 2001.


Aquaculture America 2001 at Orlando, Florida, 21–25 January 2001. (Alcántara, C. Kohler, Tello)
PD/A CRSP Annual Meeting at Orlando, Florida, 26 January 2001. (Alcántara, Dabrowski, De Jesus, C. Kohler, S. Kohler, Tello)

Development of Sustainable Pond Aquaculture Practices for Colossoma macropomum and Piaractus brachypomus in the Peruvian Amazon

Ninth Work Plan, New Aquaculture Systems/New Species Research 3 and 6 (9NS3 and 6)
Final Report

Christopher C. Kohler
Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois, USA

Susan T. Kohler
Economic and Regional Development Office
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois, USA

Konrad Dabrowski and Jacques Rinchard
School of Natural Resources
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio, USA

William M. Camargo and Marcos J. De Jesus
Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois, USA

Fernando Alcántara Bocanegra and Salvador Tello
Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana
Iquitos, Peru


Studies on the sustainable aquaculture production of gamitana (Colossoma macropomum) and paco (Piaractus brachypomus) in the Peruvian Amazon were conducted at the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana (IIAP) Quistococha Aquaculture Station in Iquitos, Peru. Growth performance of paco stocked at 4,000, 6,000, and 8,000 fish ha-1 in an experiment was not significantly different among stocking densities. Fish were harvested after six and one-half months for the 4,000, 6,000, and 8,000 fish ha-1 study; mean weights of 418.2, 447.5, and 474.9 g, respectively, were attained. Specific growth rates (% d-1) were 1.8, 1.8, 1.7; feed conversion efficiencies were 72.9, 76.2, and 74.7; and condition factors were 2.7, 2.7, and 2.8 at the low to high densities, respectively. Survival for the paco experiment was > 80%. Paco fingerlings were fed a locally prepared diet (26.7% crude protein, 9.0% crude lipid). Water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, temperature, total ammonia nitrogen, and pH) remained within acceptable levels for tropical aquaculture. The stocking density study suggests the economic feasibility of rearing paco in the Peruvian Amazon. The cost of production analysis in this and an earlier study indicated that gamitana production is economically more feasible than paco production because of its higher market value (US$3.00 vs. US$2.10 kg-1 fresh weight) and equal production costs (US$0.6 to US$0.9 kg-1 fresh weight). Production of gamitana and paco at densities of 2,500 fish ha-1 and higher will be more profitable than pineapple production, which is the highest market value agriculture cash crop produced in the Loreto region at the present time.

In another experiment, plasma concentrations of sex steroidstestosterone (T), 11-ketotestosterone (11-kT), estradiol-17b (E2) and 17,20b-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17,20bP)were measured by radioimmunoassay following ethyl-ether extraction to monitor and understand the dynamics of gonadal steroidogenesis during maturation of paco and gamitana. In paco, prior to hormonal treatments with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analog (LHRHa), the concentrations of 11-kT in males and E2 in females as well as the ones of their precursor T were significantly (P < 0.01) higher in fish maintained under normoxic conditions than in fish exposed to hypoxia. After ovulation and spermiation, the concentrations of T and 17,20bP significantly (P < 0.05) increased in both sexes in both experiments. However, the levels of plasma sex steroids reached under normoxic conditions were higher than the ones recorded under hypoxia, except the ones of 17,20bP in males. Additionally, the effect of oxygen concentration on human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) was evaluated during final stages of induced maturation on blood steroid profiles in an attempt to correlate these data with gamete viability. In 8 to 11 November 2000, the second attempt at artificial spawning of paco and the first of gamitana were performed. Six pairs of paco were selected and transferred to indoor concrete tanks. Treatments involved injection of three pairs with LHRHa and three pairs with hCG (Sigma, at St. Louis, Missouri) at 500 IU kg-1 (females) or 100 IU kg-1 (males). Fish were observed during the following 48 h and spawning attempted. Fish were weighed, tags identified, and blood samples taken prior to injection, at the time of ovulation, or 48 h after injection. In the case of gamitana, four pairs were formed after preliminary selection (robustness or sperm presence). All fish were injected with LHRHa at the same dose as paco. Conditions in ponds and indoor tanks were monitored during spawning procedures. LHRHa proved to be the only sex hormone effective for inducing spawning in both males and females.

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