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Arapaima or paiche, Arapaima gigas. (Photo: Stock File)

Giant Amazonian fish breeding studied

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Thursday, August 15, 2013, 23:30 (GMT + 9)

A team of researchers in Marine Sciences from the Catholic University of Valencia San Vicente Mártir (UCV) and the firm Valenciana de Acuicultura (VASA) are studying arapaima (Arapaima gigas) farming for intensive aquaculture.

This fish, also known as paiche or pirarucu, is native to the Amazon and can measure up to three metres and weigh about 250 kilograms.

The research project also includes other species such as the eel and tilapia and is funded by the Generalitat Valenciana as an emerging project, reported the UCV.

The research is directed by Jerome Chirivella, a professor of the Veterinary and Experimental Sciences Faculty of the UCV; and by Rodolfo Barrera, VASA general director.

The arapaima is the second largest freshwater fish in the world and at present, it "is threatened by overfishing, which makes it an interesting species to be bred in captivity in order to protect the species," said Chirivella.

The meat of the arapaima is appreciated both in the South American markets as well as in the Far East, so this resource has been subject to high fishing pressure in recent decades, added the professor.

Meanwhile, Barrera highlighted that "the interest of this resource for intensive aquaculture lies in its rapid growth -- more than 10 kg per year -- and due to its high processing performance reaching more than 51 per cent in fish meat."

The arapaima breeding is performed on the premises of the company VASA in the Valenciana town of Puçol in a closed loop system, because it is an equatorial species that requires high temperatures, between 26 °C and 29 °C.

This initiative also includes the study of potential pathologies and the development of prophylactic protocols that preserve the health and welfare of these fish during their breeding, UCV added in a press release.

To Chirivella, arapaima production in aquaculture would help this fish to be traded in international markets and help relieve the pressure on wild fish, contributing to its preservation.

By Analia Murias
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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