Sr. Luís tosses a handful of feed into the large pond, and the water erupts as dozens of large Arapaima fish compete for it. These freshwater fish, known here in Brazil as pirarucu, are found naturally in Amazonian lakes but are also now produced by small-scale farmers who have adopted aquaculture as part of a diversified farming system. Pirarucu are a well-known and popular fish: they taste delicious, and since they can grow up to an enormous 200lbs, they produce large boneless fillets. Sr. Luís began investing in aquaculture a few years ago. He dug two ponds on his small farm in the state of Acre, in the northwest Brazilian Amazon, and stocked them with pirarucu. He receives the juvenile fish from a large facility in the state capital of Rio Branco, rears them on his farm, and sells the adult fish back to the same cooperative when they are large enough to slaughter and process. Aquaculture brings additional income to Sr. Luís’ farm. It is also a space-efficient production system, which enables him to comply with legal environmental obligations to retain large parts of his property as native Amazonian forest. Alternative and more traditional forms of animal agriculture, such as cattle ranching, are much less space efficient and are thus much less compatible with forest conservation.
To read the rest of this blogpost, please visit the Prometheus blog where this was originally posted.