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Amazon Aquaculture Outreach 10NSR1

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Amazon Aquaculture Outreach

New Aquaculture Systems/New Species Research (10NSR1)/Activity and Study/Peru

Collaborating Institution
Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana, Peru
     Fernando Alcántara
     Salvador Tello

Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana, Peru
     Marina del Aguila

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
     Christopher C. Kohler
     Susan T. Kohler

1) Provide extension services to the local community to promote sustainable aquaculture in the Peruvian Amazon.

2) Conduct demonstration projects with local fish farmers to expose them to new species and/or techniques.

3) Provide short courses to governmental and NGO personnel to develop a network of aquaculture extensionists in Peru and neighboring countries.

4) Establish a specialized website on Amazonian aquaculture and species to provide for information exchange and networking.

Aquaculture has been practiced for the last ten years in areas along the only road stretching from Iquitos to the City of Nauta (95 km away). Total pond surface hectares have increased from 22 in 1991 to slightly above 100 in 2000 (Alcántara, 2001). These fish farmers received support from public and private entities. Still the industry's rate of development was minimal and results were scarce. Until recently, poor technology transfer and misinformation to the farmers led to poor production. Furthermore, some of these extension programs dissolved, leaving farmers stranded and feeling uncertain of the benefits of aquaculture. Still, a sociological study determined that over 80% of the human population along the Iquitos-Nauta road and in the Tamishiyacu and Mazan River areas had great interest in aquaculture practices, and over 80% of practicing farmers saw aquaculture as more feasible than other forms of land farming (Molnar et al., 2000).

It has been only in the past two years that fish farmers have been properly supported with aquaculture extension activities. The food security program (PROSEAL) directed by Terra Nuova (NGO) and IIAP has accounted for most of this enhancement. Their goal has been to promote the organization of fish farmers into self-sustainable associations in order to develop the aquaculture industry in a coordinated form, allowing for vital farmer interactions and common education among them. In the past two years, PROSEAL has received support from IIAP, Terra Nuova, PD/A CRSP, Maynas municipal government, Ministry of Fisheries, as well as additional contributions from two other NGOs. PROSEAL goals have been met by developing continuous workshops aimed at teaching local fish farmers about the production process, ranging from pond construction and pond management to commercialization of their product. All activities are directed at native fish species.

By the end of January 2001, PROSEAL has greatly impacted the aquaculture industry in the Iquitos region. They now provide services to 88% of fish farmers who account for almost 55% of total fish ponds in the region (Table 1). PROSEAL has been a direct beneficiary from the CRSP program in Peru. Results from research conducted at our host country facilities provided much of the information that PROSEAL extended to farmers. Thanks to leadership provided by our host country PI, Dr. Fernando Alcántara, as well as other IIAP and UNAP members, valuable information developed from our project has been transferred to the local area fish farmers via PROSEAL.

Table 1. Local organizations and their extension responsibilities along the Iquitos-Nauta road as of January 2001 (Alcántara, 2001).


Efforts began in the Ninth Work Plan to create an extension work committee, which will allow us to formally integrate our extension activities for the Tenth Work Plan into the existing host country program. The committee will ensure proper cooperation among all participating entities, and help avoid redundancy in the proposed work region. Alcantara, with PD/A CRSP support, will continue to serve as the lead PROSEAL aquaculture extensionist. The PROSEAL project is scheduled to terminate in December 2001. Accordingly, the continuity of this important effort will be reliant on PD/A CRSP support.

Quantified Anticipated Benefits
The development of sustainable aquaculture will benefit many sectors throughout the Peruvian Amazon. Rural farmers will benefit from the addition of an alternative form of agriculture. Aquaculture production requires considerably less land than that needed for cattle ranching. Moreover, ponds can be used year-after-year whereas rain forest lands converted to traditional agricultural practices are rarely productive for more than a couple of seasons. Such lands, once abandoned, usually can no longer support normal jungle growth. Both rural and urban poor will benefit by the addition of a steady supply of high quality protein in the marketplace. Aquaculture of Colossoma and/or Piaractus should relieve some of the fishing pressure on these overharvested, native species. These species have been suggested to play a crucial ecological role in disseminating seeds from the flooded forest (Goulding, 1980; Araujo-Lima and Goulding, 1997). Accordingly, the aquaculture of Colossoma and/or Piaractus may be ecologically as well as economically and nutritionally beneficial to the inhabitants of the Peruvian Amazon. Host country consumers and fish farmers, researchers, extensionists and planners, local and foreign Latin-American governmental organizations and/or NGOs and users of global CRSP-sponsored models and data will benefit from this activity. Development of a Latin American network of Amazonian species producers and researchers could catalyze regional efforts to fortify the growing industry and to explore new aquaculture candidates to diversify production.

Activity Plan
Objective 1: Provide Extension Services to the Local Community to Promote Sustainable Aquaculture in the Peruvian Amazon

We will continue to reinforce extension activities with the 240 local farmers currently being served along the road system between the cities of Iquitos and Nauta, and expand the coverage to at least one other community near to Iquitos. Our activities will reinforce and complement similar activities being conducted by the Italian NGO Terra Nuova. Farmers will be provided with knowledge gleaned from the CRSP-sponsored studies with Colossoma and Piaractus conducted in the Eighth and Ninth Work Plans. Accordingly, we will:

Provide workshops to existing and prospective fish farmers in the Iquitos region. Specifically, we will compile a Spanish-language production manual for Colossoma and Piaractus to accompany the reproduction manual completed in the Ninth Work Plan. These companion manuals will be used in workshops to be conducted at the IIAP.

Quistococha Aquaculture Station for teaching prospective farmers the basics for pond culture. A video displaying standard practices for spawning and culturing Colossoma and Piaractus will also be produced to complement the written manuals. At least two workshops will be provided each year of the Tenth Work Plan, and all farmers currently producing fish will be invited. At least one workshop per year will be provided to prospective fish farmers in the region. These farmers will be identified from the many inquiries made to IIAP for general information on fish farming. The latter workshops will be more general in nature and will serve as a primer for the more advanced workshops provided to existing producers. All workshops will include orientation on the business aspects of aquaculture.

Provide aquaculture advisement via site visits to local farmers. We will make bi-monthly site visits to fish farms in the Iquitos area. Farms will be visited on a rotational basis so that every farm is visited at least once each quarter. Farmers will be provided with information on fish husbandry and pond maintenance, as well as with any new developments learned through our research activities. Standard water quality parameters (temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, hardness, alkalinity, carbon dioxide, total ammonia nitrogen, and nitrite) will be measured at representative farms throughout the region.

Evaluate the extension service through a questionnaire pilot tested and administered by the extensionists themselves to all clientele receiving extension services to assess quality of extension provided and to obtain suggestions on how to improve the program.

Objective 2: Conduct Demonstration Projects with Local Fish Farmers to Expose Them to New Species and/or Techniques

Two techniques have been selected to expose local fish farmers and prospective fish farmers to successful aquaculture techniques. The techniques consist of:

    1) The training and certification of "Master Aquaculturists" and
    2) On-farm research and demonstration projects.

A minimum of three successful producers will be selected for certification as "Master Aquaculturists." CRSP personnel will work intensively with these producers to enhance their techniques and production efficiency. Once these farmers reach satisfactory levels, they will be certified as "Master Aquaculturists" and serve as mentors for novice farmers. The CRSP personnel will arrange for farm tours of these facilities, which will serve as living laboratories. Currently, IIAP has been experimenting with the use of mentors to transfer technology. We plan to build on this groundwork that appears to be working well.

The second technique will analyze the feasibility of transferring technology to area fish farmers by conducting on-farm research and demonstration projects. To ascertain the effectiveness of this model, a preliminary density study with Arapaima gigas has been designed and will be carried out at three local fish farms over an eight-month period. Two, four and six fish/m3 will be stocked in cages. The 3 x 3 x 1.2 m floating cages will be constructed with 0.25" plastic mesh and 2" PVC pipes for the frame, and balsa-wood buoys for flotation. The food source will be biological silage of discarded commercial fish and nuisance invaders at the IIAP research ponds. This study will be conducted by two UNAP undergraduate students as a component of their thesis work.

Objective 3: Provide Short Courses to Governmental and NGO Personnel to Develop a Network of Aquaculture Extensionists in Peru and Neighboring Countries

Two intensive training courses for small groups of governmental and nongovernmental personnel conducting aquaculture research and/or extension activities in the Amazon Basin will be offered yearly at IIAP, Iquitos, Peru. For each course, five qualified Latin-American participants will be invited to participate. The first course will be offered to train aquaculturists in extension techniques. Extension techniques practiced successfully by IIAP and Terra Nuova will be emphasized. This course will consist of Three days (eight hours per day) of lecture and one full day of practical field work. The second course will be directed to extension personnel with little or no training in aquaculture. Extension personnel will learn broodstock selection and handling, spawning techniques, incubation, larviculture, grow out, disease prevention, all specifically related to the species of Colossoma and Piaractus. This intensive module will also cover three days (eight hours per day) of lectures and one day with practical laboratory work to teach hormone injection, spawning, fertilization, incubation and larviculture techniques.

Objective 4: Establish a Specialized Website on Amazonian Aquaculture and Species to Provide for Information Exchange and Networking

A website on Amazonian aquaculture and species will be designed to allow for information exchange and networking. The website will contain information on all CRSP-sponsored research and outreach activities in the Amazon region. It will also provide links to other agency activities in the region such as USAID, FAO, World Wildlife Fund, etc. A chat room will allow for discussions on Amazonian aquaculture and species by interested participants. The website will contain a specialized bibliography on publications on research and outreach activities related to Amazonian aquaculture and species. An up-to-date list of announcements concerning related workshops and meetings will be maintained on the site. A list-serve will be established and maintained for the purpose of relaying relevant information on Amazonian aquaculture and species. The number of hits to the site will be enumerated to determine the site's exposure.

Regional Integration
An objective of the Regional Plan is to initiate outreach and networking activities in the region. This proposal expands on this objective by training personnel in neighboring countries as well as enhanced training in Iquitos. The proposal begins to build the network of mentors by certifying "Master Aquaculturists." It extends knowledge through on-farm trials and demonstration research. Lastly, a website on Amazonian aquaculture will facilitate networking both within and outside of the region.

All activities will take place from 1 July 2001 through 30 April 2003. A final report will be submitted on or before 30 April 2003.

Literature Cited
Alcantara, F., 2001. Caracterizacion piscicola del area de influencia de la carretera Iquitos-Nauta. Proyecto "Zonificacion ecologica-economica para el desarrollo sostenible de la zona Iquitos, Nauta, Requena, e Intuto." Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana y Proyecto "Araucaria, Amazonas-Nauta," 45 pp.

Araujo-Lima, C. and M. Goulding, 1997. So Fruitful a Fish: Ecology, Conservation, and Aquaculture of the Amazon's Tambaqui. Columbia University Press, New York, 191 pp.

Goulding, M., 1980. The Fishes and the Forest: Explorations in Amazonian Natural History. University of California Press, Berkeley, 280 pp.

Molnar, J., F. Alcántara, and S. Tello, 2000. Identifying goals and priorities of fish farmers in the Peruvian Amazon. In: A. Gupta, K. McElwee, D. Burke, J. Burright, X. Cummings, and H. Egna (Editors), Eighteenth Annual Technical Report. Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture CRSP, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, pp. 131­134.

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