9/11/11

Paraguay's Pioneering Tilapia Aqua Farm

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Acahay, Ybyraity County, Paraguay

With the South American nation of Paraguay's having no ocean frontage or seaports, right up until 20 years in the past the only way to acquire seafood in business quantities was to import it at fantastic price. Consequently not lots of of the country's consumers could pay for to get a fish dinner. Then together arrived entrepreneurs Luc Van Ruymbeke and his wife Aida Ramos who saw a desire that could be filled and they crafted the country's to begin with aqua farm. Luc is an agricultural engineer from Belgium and Aida, my wife's sister, is a marine biologist from Honduras. They have mixed their talents into a thriving loved ones enterprise, Granja Aida 1, a 124 acre aqua farm that contains 105 ponds, every one becoming about three,000 square meters in dimensions. At capability the farm can provide a little in excess of a 50 % million pounds of fish per 12 months together with other countries in South The united states, Europe and the United States.

Luc and Aida selected this remote area outdoors the little town of Acahay, about a a few-hour drive easter from the capital of Asuncion, since of the normal aquifers underground and abundant rainfall. They truly had to drain the swamp and install berms to develop the ponds. Because the water table is high no plastic or concrete lining is necessary to retain drinking water. They engineered the h2o product so that h2o flows by gravity using channels. The only destination just where pumps are necessary is at the farmhouse.

A short while ago Ruth, our young children and I, had been invited to commit just about two weeks at the farm. We had never ever been to Paraguay previously and I had not satisfied Luc nor daughters, Suzy and Sophie earlier. On our first of all tour of the residence we discovered that the aqua farm business enterprise right here is not without its hazards and dangers. This former swamp land still has all the critters you would typically unearth in a swamp. Toxic snakes are a menace. The good thing is the snakes are in winter season hibernation this time of year but when they wake up in a couple months they will be hungry and will bite nearly anything that moves. They have been uncovered within the home and they like to curl up in people's boots. This presents new which means to "shake your booty" when you get up in the morning! Other seasonal predators that steal great quantities of fish if left uncontrolled are cormorants. This is the very same species of birds put into use in Asia for fishing. Asian fishermen put a ring roughly the bird's throat to prevent it from swallowing the fish. Here these birds are unwelcome. This time of 12 months they have flown north for the winter but they will be back again.

The largest threat to the aqua farm, but, is the climate. Tilapia have only a particular tolerance for cold. With July and August the coldest months added precautions should always be taken to protect against the fish from dying prematurely. For instance the other night Luc took the young children out to light fires so the warm smoke would settle about the waters and produce cover for the ponds. This exact same system is implemented by tomato growers to assistance stop the crop from freezing. Absolutely yes, we have no tomatoes right here, having said that. But if Mom Nature isn't going to cooperate even smoke won't allow. Soon after freezing temperatures at evening, if the sun doesn't occur out for 1 or two days to warmth up the drinking water once more all can be misplaced. A few years in the past through winter the sun failed to shine for ten days in a row and the farm suffered a considerable damage.

A person morning we witnessed a funny scene from an upstairs window. A puppy had caught a fish in one particular of the ponds. As he trotted down the dike with the fish dangling from his mouth, on the lookout for a spot to enjoy his meal in privacy, he didn't go unnoticed. Primary a single vulture, then a different joined in, followed by a third and fourth. The birds of prey all went operating subsequent to him in a solitary file parade hoping to get in on the action. The dog turned, noticed the birds, and immediately ducked into some bushes to escape from his pursuers. The vultures stood approximately for a whilst waiting for the dog to arrive out but ultimately they gave up and flew away.

© Robert R. Talley 2011

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