5.1 Government policy
5.2 Government organization
5.3 Aquaculture legislation
5.4 Trade and business associations
5.5 Information resources for management
5.6 Technical assistance projects for national infrastructure
Latin American governments see aquaculture as another means of accomplishing policy objectives normally assigned to capture fisheries. In addition to the principal objective of establishing an economically viable and self-sustaining sector (the goal of the Ministry of Finance or its equivalent), aquaculture (according to the Ministry in charge of government policy for the sector) is expected to contribute to low-cost food production and employment..
In 1979 these objectives were endorsed by the Committee of Sea and Fresh Water Products, a unit established by SELA. The Committee stated that in Latin America aquaculture should:
(i) produce food readily available to Latin American populations;
(ii) provide employment for large numbers of manual workers;
(iii) contribute to a rational exploitation of the region's natural resources.
Since that meeting these national objectives have been modified by the governments of several countries. Many now also see aquaculture as a means of earning hard currency through the export of high-value products, such as shrimps, molluscs, and salmon.
Following the FAO-sponsored Aquaculture Symposium held in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1974, and the Regional Meeting for Planning of Aquaculture held in Caracas, Venezuela in 1975, many countries have recognized the need to formulate their own policies and sector plans for the development of aquaculture. However, as yet, not all government policies and objectives have been translated into documented aquaculture development plans. In some way this may be a reflection of the difficulty of reconciling conflicting economic and sectoral demands on national resources, such as coastal sites, water, feed ingredients, etc., as well as issues which might require land reform. Furthermore, as national plans require budgetary commitments, governments of the region have few financial resources to commit. In addition, most government organizations responsible for aquaculture have formulated departmental plans concerning their own operations and activities reflecting their policies toward aquaculture development.
Without financial commitment and endorsement by the national planning authority the majority of plans for aquaculture development have become, in practice, programmes attempting to introduce aquaculture practices to different areas of the country and under the different existing developmental schemes. In the best of cases they have set useful goals for production once aquaculture has been successfully introduced. However, due to the limitations imposed by the institutional and structural characteristics of the government body or organization responsible for their formulation and implementation, such programmes and/or goals have excluded many social and economic factors required by a national sector development plan. Consequently, so far, little has been achieved.
In recent years, in accordance with the importance attributed to aquaculture in almost every country, more coherent and structured policies and plans have been formulated, allocating more resources for development. National priorities have dictated selection of objectives in terms of (1) increasing food production for domestic consumption; (2) creation of employment opportunities for the rural population; (3) rational utilization and exploitation of natural resources to increase the standard of living of the rural population; and (4) earn foreign currency through the exportation of aquatic products.
The extent of government policies as well as the strategies for their development vary among the different countries of the region. They reflect their political, social, and economic characteristics, as well as the state of development of the sector itself. Planning procedures for the aquaculture sector seem to have been adapted from those which had previously been instituted at higher levels of public administration (for example, in Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela) while in other countries, planning of the aquaculture sector has been introduced simultaneously at all levels of the public administration (for example, in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico). In both cases difficulties seem to be resolved gradually as experience is gained in the application and adaptation of planning laws (overcoming excessively rigid and inflexible mechanisms), through accumulated knowledge, and with training of staff in the areas of planning and management.
Governments have recognized that aquaculture development requires in-depth planning supporting promotion, and coordination with other production sectors. However, there are significant variations between countries in the institutional strength of the government organization responsible for aquaculture, budgetary commitment, and training and research programmes in support of the local and national infrastructure. Some countries have an integrated and realistic policy of management of credit for specific target groups, a well-coordinated programme of extension, an adequate supply of inputs and services, and a well-oriented marketing scheme.
Argentina does not have a national development plan, and provides limited support to producers, either through its institutions or by means of credit and other fiscal incentives.
Although Bolivia does not yet have a national development plan, its 1987-90 Fisheries Development Plan states as objectives the technical enhancement of fish farming and the strengthening of research as a means to increase production of natural fish resources.
Sector planning of aquaculture in Chile is not carried out at the government level. Development has been entirely in the hands of the private sector and developmental institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within the scheme of the social market economy of the country.
Colombia has not had an explicit policy for development. The various national development plans of the past two decades have not been consistent with development to allow coordination of actions in terms of adoption of species and technologies, integration of international technical assistance projects, and structuring of a sector plan. It was not until 1980 that a Plan for Marine Science and Technology Research was finally drawn up from which, in 1985, the National Plan on Fisheries and Aquaculture Research was derived and which in turn has provided the basis for a National Aquaculture Development Programme, at present under preparation.
In Guatemala policies for development are implicitly contemplated in the General Strategies and Basis for the Development of the Agricultural Sector, which include both the promotion of rural aquaculture and coastal shrimp aquaculture. However, a specific sector programme has never been formulated.
In Honduras the 1987-90 National Development Plan refers to aquaculture as a means of obtaining inexpensive protein sources for the population and of generating foreign currency through the exportation of shrimp. But there is no specific sector development programme which provides adequate support for its implementation.
Although a National Plan for the Development of Aquaculture had been prepared since 1975 in Costa Rica, the Government did not support it, purportedly despite the recognition of its importance in the 1986-90 National Development Plan. The lack of a proper sector framework analysis is an impediment to the concrete and thorough application of the plan. None the less, some advances in this respect make Costa Rica one of the most progressive countries in institutional planning of aquaculture as results of its research, extension, incentives, and marketing programmes demonstrate.
In Panama, in spite of the lack of a documented national plan, the Government has been consistent in application of its policies. For the last 15 years the National Directorate for Aquaculture has been very active in promoting the development of the sector with a comprehensive and well-coordinated plan of action.
Until 1976, efforts to promote the development of aquaculture in Mexico were sporadic and dispersed throughout the public administration. This changed following the creation of a National Directorate of Aquaculture, under the Fisheries Department. However, the first effective plan of action was implemented much later. The present National Aquaculture Programme is a well-structured planning instrument which is starting to produce the desired results of not only significantly increasing total production, but also accomplishing social and economic goals through more and better coordinated participation of government organizations which support the sector.
In Venezuela aquaculture is a priority under the National Development Plan (VI Plan de la Nación). As such the Council for Scientific Research elaborated a sector framework analysis for its development. A National Aquaculture Programme is being drafted and it is expected that it will be officially approved before the end of this year. As of now the Ministry of the Environment and Renewable Resources still has some participation in the control of activities, having dictated stringent measures on the granting of authorizations for the introduction of exotic species into the country which has limited its development. The new National Programme is expected to help overcome this and other bottlenecks still afflicting the industry.
An important consideration with respect to government policy toward aquaculture is that most governments set national programme goals based on the expectation that rural, small-scale aquaculture was capable of producing surpluses which would enter normal marketing channels and would contribute to national food production (especially when integrated with agricultural activities). Thus many have provided full public organizational support (for seed, technical assistance, and subsidies, etc.). Unfortunately, results and experience throughout the region so far have shown that rural, small-scale aquaculture has not gained a momentum of its own.
Within the appropriate ministry aquaculture is usually designated as a Departamento, Dirección General, or Sub-secretaría. Staff have the responsibility of establishing policies and directions for development of the sector, as well as liaison with other appropriate departments where there is a sharing of common resources (for example, land and water-use).
Such is the case of Argentina where freshwater aquaculture falls under the Dirección Nacional de Pesca Continental and marine production under the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero, both dependant of the Sub-secretaría de Pesca of the Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganaderia y Pesca (Ministry of Economy). This structure was created in 1985. The Directorate has administrative and restocking responsibilities, while the Institute undertakes supporting research for fishery programmes, including aquaculture.
In Bolivia aquaculture is administered by the Centro de Desarrollo Pesquero created in 1984 under the Ministry of Peasant and Agricultural Affairs. Its functions include the planning of fishery development, scientific and technological research, promotion of rural peasant organization, and the regulation and control of fishery activities including overseeing fiscal matters. The Government is seeking assistance for institutional strengthening. The Centre also offers economic incentives for production in the way of fingerlings, construction, technical assistance, etc., although present economic constraints limit its functions.
In Chile the Servicio Nacional de Pesca is the executive arm of the Sub-secretaría de Pesca (Ministerio de Economía, Fomento y Reconstrucción) with responsibilities for fisheries resources. However, the Corporación de Fomento de la Producción is an autonomous entity within Government with internal financing for development, and supports aquaculture. The Instituto de Fomento is the research arm for the Corporation and carries out scientific and technical work on aquaculture. Aquaculture is also supported in Chile by two quasi-government organizations, namely ProChile, which markets national production, and Fundación Chile, which supports research and development.
In Colombia the Instituto de Desarrollo de los Recursos Renovables under the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the promotion and development of aquaculture, and is expected to assume an administrative role as well through the Dirección de Acuicultura. However, the lack of funding constrains its activities, which are also not entirely independent from those of 7 other Ministries, the National Planning Department, and the Presidency of the country.
In Costa Rica aquaculture is under the General Directorate of Fishery Resources and Aquaculture (Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock). The Department of Aquaculture, created in 1974, has promoted fish farming within the framework of the draft of the National Plan for the Development of Aquaculture. This task has been accomplished mainly through the implementation of rural aquaculture projects and through the creation of several fish culture and research stations. In 1984 the Department was assigned technical, scientific, and administrative tasks to enforce the then current legislation in relation to the exploitation of aquatic resources and aquaculture. In 1989 a National Aquaculture Sector Plan has been sanctioned by which national policies and the respective plan of action for the promotion and development of aquaculture are identified and defined. The Dirección de Acuicultura is expected to receive full support from the National Agriculture Council and from the Executive Secretariat of the Agriculture Sectoral Planning in accomplishing its promotional and regulatory tasks. It will also participate in the revision and updating of legislative measures related to aquaculture.
In Ecuador the Sub-secretaría de Recursos Pesqueros of the Ministry of Natural and Energy Resources is responsible for managing, regulating, and executing national policies for the development of aquaculture. The General Directorate of Fisheries, the National Fisheries Institute (in charge of research), the Fisheries School of Manta (middle level training), and the National Fisheries Corporation (marketing) participate in the promotion and development of aquaculture at the national level.
In El Salvador the Centro de Desarrollo Pesquero is responsible for the aquaculture sector. Its functions are exclusively regulatory, while all operations are under the Agricultural Regional Authorities. This institutional structure prevents it from having direct authority over extension and promotion personnel, and thus the country lacks an effective mechanism for the support and control of the sector.
In Guatemala aquaculture falls under the Dirección Tecnica de Pesca y Acuicultura of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Feeding. It is a branch of the Livestock Services Directorate and its functions are severely limited by the shortage of personnel and resources for its operation.
The Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture in Guyana is the government agency responsible for aquaculture promotion and development. This Department has as its mission to manage, regulate, and promote exploitation and development of the nation's fishery resources. With regard to aquaculture it has been seeking over the years to foster development through research, extension, and training activities. Its activities are conducted at the Botanic Gardens Fish Culture Station which also produces broodstock and fingerlings for is development programmes. Regional Administrations run two other stations at Supenaam and at Pomerroon. Promotion of aquaculture is closely linked with the activities conducted by the Guyana Sugar Corporation as part of its diversification programme which receives financial assistance from IDRC, and with the Department of Biology of the University of Guyana.
Officially the responsibility for aquaculture in Honduras is under the General Directorate for Natural Renewable Resources of the Ministry of Natural Resources. However, in practice, several other institutions are involved in the administrative and promotional aspects of the activity. In recognizing this situation an inter-institutional Committee for the Development of Aquaculture has been created in an attempt to coordinate the promotional and administrative measures undertaken by the different agencies involved.
In Mexico the National Directorate for Aquaculture, within the Secretaría de Pesca is the main government body responsible for the aquaculture sector, and as such is the designated agency for the implementation of the National Aquaculture Programme. However, neither culture-based fisheries fall directly under the Directorate nor does research, which is the main task of the National Fisheries Institute. Although the Secretaría has delegations or representative offices in most states of the country, some state governments have independent fisheries and aquaculture departments which do not necessarily abide by federal regulations. None the less the country possesses an effective organization for the execution of developmental aquaculture policies as well as for the coordination and regulation of the activity among the different institutions and organizations participating in aquaculture promotion, research, finance, and support to the industry. In recent years the Directorate has received considerable assistance (from AQUILA, and UNDP/FAO) for institutional strengthening in planning and public management. In close collaboration with the National Fisheries Institute, the Directorate is assisting the cooperative sector in the expansion of the shrimp farming industry as well as to the rural sector in promoting freshwater aquaculture.
After a transition period of administrative reorganization in Nicaragua, the Aquaculture Directorate was created in 1984 within the Nicaraguan Fisheries Institute, which had already centralized regulation, research, and development of the fishery and aquaculture resources. The economic, productive, and administrative transformation of the country led to the formation of corporations of those government institutions directly involved in production. Thus in 1988 the Institute became the National Fishery Corporation with the aim of attaining economic autonomy. Priorities in the development of aquaculture have moved toward the creation of a viable economic sector based mainly on shrimp farming as opposed to traditional rural subsistence fish farming practices. Therefore, the Fishery Corporation is in the process of formulating a development programme with specific policies and strategies in order to achieve its objectives effectively.
In Panama, since 1976, the National Aquaculture Directorate of the Agriculture Development Ministry has been in charge of the implementation of the country's policies toward the aquaculture sector as dictated by the National Development Plan. The lack of a National Aquaculture Programme has not impeded it from conducting an active scheme for the development of the sector at all levels. Through a sound but flexible internal organization, it maintains an active role in extension, research, promotion, regulation, and control, in both the rural and industrial sectors.
In Paraguay aquaculture falls under the Dirección de Caza, Pesca y Piscicultura of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, but at the lowest hierarchical level. In spite of the fact that its internal organic law designates this Directorate to be responsible for aquaculture, the lack of human and economic resources impede the execution of its corresponding functions. In practice, the Fish Farming Division of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences at the National University of Asunción is the main promoter of aquaculture throughout the country.
The Ministry of Fisheries of Peru is the government organization responsible for aquaculture through the newly created General Directorate for Aquaculture. The Ministry has regional representations which oversee its operations within their own jurisdiction. The Ministry has as its functions the formulation of policies and development plans as well as the regulation, evaluation, control, and promotion of their implementation. The Instituto del Mar provides scientific and technological support to the Aquaculture Directorate in its promotion activities.
In Uruguay the Instituto Nacional de la Pesca is responsible for the administration of the sector, and falls under the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. Its functions are to advise, promote, develop, and control the national fisheries and aquaculture activities, both public and private.
In Suriname aquaculture falls under the State Commission for Fisheries. The interest for aquaculture gained momentum toward 1983 when a Government Limited Company (Surland) was created with financial assistance from the OAS. Surland has been the government's main instrument for the promotion of aquaculture through the construction of institutional infrastructure, and the execution of development programmes. The Commission, with the assistance of FAO, is building a pilot demonstration farm for shrimp culture as a means of encouraging private entities to invest in this sector, and to serve as a training centre.
In Venezuela the General Sectorial Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, is in charge of overseeing aquaculture promotion in the country. Through its Aquaculture Division, it is formulating a development programme as a means of enhancing the contribution of this sector to total food production in the country. The National Trust Fund for Agricultural Research is collaborating in the execution of a technical development programme which includes transfer of technology in the field of aquaculture and which is expected to aid the Directorate in the accomplishment of its goals.
All Latin American countries appear to have some legislation which makes it possible for the appropriate administration to manage the aquaculture sector. It also appears that legislation which applies to export-oriented aquaculture is more enacted, more precise, and better enforced than that which applies to traditional and rural fish culture. This means that producers engaged in the farming of shrimp, molluscs, and salmon have to comply with more regulations than those who produce freshwater fish for household consumption or local markets. This is probably a reflection of the fact that it was possible, until relatively recently, to practise small-scale pond culture without significant competition for land and water.
In most countries it is now necessary to obtain one or more permits to install and operate aquaculture production units, and possibly from central authorities as well as local government councils, or equivalent institutions.
Most countries have legislation for the control of importation of exotic or non-indigenous species to be used in aquaculture (or introduced in open waters), and protocols for the transfer and introduction of species to countries in the region have been discussed by members of OLDEPESCA and the Commission for Inland Fisheries of Latin America (COPESCAL) (see 6.2). This legislation is difficult to enforce and has, in some countries, been circumvented. In Central America movements of non-indigenous species between countries are quite common.
It is not common for national legislation to reserve natural resources for certain sections of population. However, in Mexico commercial aquaculture activities involving eight of the higher-valued species are reserved exclusively for members of cooperative societies.
Aquaculture legislation and regulations are largely disorganized throughout the region. This constrains its development as it is not always capable of satisfying conflicting demands posed by various categories of producers. This often causes irregularities in the application of laws and regulations (thus taking action and control out of the hands of the designated authorities), and conflicts concerning the use of the various resources used by aquaculture (e.g. land, water resources, fishing rights, and economic funds) cannot always be resolved as dictated by their respective laws.
The legal framework for aquaculture is heterogenous within the countries of the region. In some cases it barely touches upon the sector, while in others it is vast and complex, especially when different laws are applicable to this one single sector. In many cases the only existing laws refer to fisheries in general, and therefore government administrative organizations have to infer or extrapolate when dealing with aquaculture. National Aquaculture Development Programmes cannot always be carried out in part due to the limitations imposed by current legislation formulated for sectors other than aquaculture, but because of the complex nature of this activity it necessarily infringes upon those of other sectors (such as agriculture, forestry, livestock, tourism, and environmental protection).
Legislation for aquaculture in Argentina is non-existent, although some provinces (Chubut, Rio Negro) have local laws applicable to the exploitation of aquatic organisms through aquaculture. These laws attempt to stimulate investment in the sector by ensuring rights for a prolonged period of time. Additional incentives include technical assistance, loans, legal advice, and sometimes the provision of seedstock. At the national level the National Directorate of Continental Fisheries has prepared a legislation draft in which Articles 11 to 18 address aquaculture permits, water, and other resource user rights.
In Bolivia several legal dispositions refer to fisheries management and control but there is no specific regulation for aquaculture. The 1975 Wildlife, National Parks, Hunting and Fishing Law is applicable to fisheries in general, but is already obsolete. A Fishing and Hydrobiological Resources Law has been drafted and is being discussed in the legislative chamber. This law would fill the existing vacuum concerning the planning and development of aquaculture.
In Chile since 1931 the Fishing Law contemplated the hiring of beaches and maritime space for fish and shellfish farming. In 1960 more specific laws were enacted on maritime concessions, and in 1967 on the establishment and operation of enterprises dedicated to aquaculture. In 1980 a law was approved, Articles 12 to 18 of which refer to aquaculture activities (Decreto Supremo No. 175). Three other decrees (291 of 1985, 99 of 1988 and Resolution 0548 of 1988) are specific to salmon farming, such as the control of salmonid diseases, minimum distance between culture centres and treatment of effluents, and sanitary requirements for the importation of eggs, respectively. Different provinces of the country have their own regulations concerning financial investment and incentives, tax deductions, subsidies, and customs duties, all having the intention of attracting investment capital.
In Colombia several decrees have been emitted amending the 1938 Law which legislated on different fisheries matters. These decrees refer to various forms of aquatic exploitation (1954, 1957, 1959, 1974, 1978) but it was not until 1974 when more specific regulations concerning aquaculture were approved. The activity is mostly legislated by decrees (hydrobiological resources: 1974, 1978; water: 1961, 1973, 1984; land: 1971, 1986; foreign trade: 1985; credit: 1979, 1983, 1984; permits for industrial activities: 1978). The Foreign Trade Institute regulates importation and exportation of inputs and products for fisheries and aquaculture. Regional Corporations and the Agrarian Rural Reform regulate concessions of land for aquaculture.
In Costa Rica only a few articles of the Fisheries and Forestry Law touch upon aquaculture, and only coastal shrimp farming requires authorization by local municipalities, the Tourism Institute, and the Forestry Directorate (only in cases where mangrove forests are affected). Importation of seedstock is regulated by Animal Quarantine of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. Capture of wild seed or stock is in turn regulated by the Environmental Protection Department or by the Wildlife Directorate. The Government has no economic incentive schemes for aquaculture development, although recently it has requested the National Economic Council to approve a fund of over US$ 2 million for aquaculture loans.
In Ecuador several decrees and resolutions have superseded the Law of Fisheries and Development of 1974 in an attempt to harmonize the conflicting interests of aquaculture activities. A specific regulation for aquaculture designates the Ministry of Natural and Energy Resources as the agency in charge of management, execution, supervision, and control of rules and regulations concerning the sector, and to seek financial assistance for the artisanal producers.
The 1981 General Law of Fishery Activities regulates the promotion and development of both fisheries and aquaculture in El Salvador. This instrument is precise in terms of the definition of aquaculture, the required permits, and on the administration of the activity. However, some decrees have been emitted a posteriori in parallel with the evolution of marine shrimp farming. Land resources for this last activity are regulated by the Forestry Law.
In view of the obsolesence of the Fishing Law of Guatemala, in 1983 a decree was approved in which procedures to request permits, the control of species introductions, and inspection of aquaculture activities are regulated. However, a number of aspects related to aquaculture were excluded from that decree. A Fishery and Aquaculture Law is at present under revision, which should provide adequate coverage in terms of legislation of this sector.
In Honduras the need for an appropriate aquaculture legislative framework has been recognized by the National Development Plan as producers encounter many obstacles from present legislation. Several agencies intervene in the regulation of aquaculture, hindering its development. On the other hand, although credit/loans for aquaculture in Honduras are available through various channels, they are seldom allocated because of the lack of proper investment feasibility studies.
The legal framework for aquaculture in Mexico includes several laws, the main one within the sector being the Federal Fisheries Law of 1986. However, the various other laws regulating resources, land tenure, water rights, environmental protection, had, until recently, constituted a major bottleneck to development. In recognizing this legal constraint, a Committee involving five Ministries and other agencies has been formed to review and propose a mechanism to facilitate the required permit process by would-be producers, regardless of the type of venture. This coordination should lead to the use of a single permit format, and obviate the need to replicate application before each Ministry concerned.
The same Federal Fisheries Law grants the cooperative societies the exclusive right to exploit (either through fisheries or aquaculture) eight of the highest-valued aquatic species, provided they meet the required technical, administrative, and financial capabilities to undertake such exploitation.
National development banks have instituted specific regulations concerning the granting of loans and credit for aquaculture, setting priorities according to the type of species to be exploited. Given the economic constraints afflicting the country, the government has no specific provisions for economic and tributary incentives to attract investment in the sector. The National Agricultural Insurance Government Agency has included aquaculture production under its coverage policies as a means of protecting aquaculture investors.
The Organic Law of 1984 is the legislative framework which provides the Instituto Nacional de Pesca of Nicaragua the capability to assign areas of exploitation for aquaculture, as well as to grant permits and to promote the development of the sector. A specific law for shrimp culture is being drafted in anticipation of this industry.
In Panama the legal framework of aquaculture is constituted by numerous decrees and resolutions as there is a single specific law regulating the sector. Land use is regulated by the Treasury, water use by the Law of Waters, and environmental protection by the Ministry of Health. Several Ministries and agencies participate in the approval of permits for aquaculture production, exacerbating the complex process of meeting all specified requirements contained in the following decrees: Law No. 35, 1963; Decree No. 58, 1964; Decree No. 70, 1968; Law No. 21, 1974; Decree No. 3, 1983. Duties and taxes on land, production, and exportation, are also regulated by various decrees.
Paraguay does not have a Fisheries Law, although the National Constitution dictates that the state has the obligation to preserve its forestry and natural renewable resources. Thus the Civil Codex approves the private appropriation of the fisheries resources of the country. There is no regulation concerning aquaculture, and non-sectoral legislative measures do not appear to impose any restriction on the development of aquaculture.
The General Law of Fisheries of Peru provides a legal definition of aquaculture and specifies requirements for granting permits. Several regulations refer to specific aspects of aquaculture, others refer to the preservation of resources, and others provide incentives for development.
A decree approves regulations on mollusc culture, another approves regulations for exploitation and marketing of ornamental aquatic resources, and a third approves regulations for exploitation of seaweeds. The Ministry of Fisheries has the faculty to grant rights on coastal areas, water areas, or marine bottoms for aquaculture production. Rights for inland aquaculture are granted by this same Ministry in coordination with the Provincial Municipal Councils and with the Ministry of Agriculture. Several tax deduction, location, and export economic incentives are regulated by different decrees and laws. No price controls are imposed on aquaculture products, and production activities carried out by individuals are exempted from all taxes and duties.
In Uruguay there is no specific legal framework for aquaculture, and only few regulations in relation to land tenure and water use are directly relevant to the sector.
In Venezuela the Fisheries Law does not refer to, or regulate, the aquaculture sector. However there is a specific resolution (1980) regulating and controlling the exploitation of mussels which obliges the producer to obtain a special permit to culture them and a sanitary license to market them, thus ensuring that products are free from toxins produced by red tides. Some other resolutions also affect the aquaculture sector as they forbid the introduction and cultivation of tilapias (1974). Permits must be obtained to introduce certain penaeid and Macrobrachium species (1984, 1988). The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources is responsible for authorizing all aquaculture operations. Some other laws concerning the use of land, environmental protection, agrarian reform, sanitary quality, and fisheries may be applicable to certain aspects of aquaculture production.
A number of countries impose import duties, sales taxes, and other charges on the sale or purchase of equipment and other inputs used by commercial producers. This reflects the needs of either the economy as a whole or of large groups of producers/consumers. The same applies to export and/or production incentives; these are usually economy-wide and are not specifically for aquaculture producers. Peru is an example. All items of equipment needed in hatcheries are free of import duties and other imposed charges, and all exports of non-traditional products (including aquaculture products) receive a "Certex"; for cultured finfish this is 28% of export earnings and for cultured shrimps it is 35% (f.o.b. price).
As a means of attracting foreign investment in Guyana, companies which export outside the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are allowed to keep 20% of their export earnings in hard currency. In Venezuela aquaculture products are classified under agricultural products, and are exempt from income tax.
In Ecuador the government provides low-interest loans for both farms and hatcheries and theoretically allows the hatcheries to import some equipment duty-free, although application may be a time consuming process. However, despite these efforts to promote the shrimp farming industry, restrictions imposed after 1982 on the conversion of export earnings diverted millions of dollars from the industry. Exporters earned bonuses, but they did not make up for the lost earnings because of the difference between the official and free-market exchange rates. After these restrictions were eliminated illegal practices have declined as the exporters have been allowed to convert dollar earnings at the free market rate which in turn has resulted in a major new infusion of capital to the industry. Private investors have also been encouraged by the Government's decision to decontrol interest rates.
In addition to the associations of professionals in the region already mentioned (see 4.5) there are other associations the character of which is essentially commercial. These are mainly constituted by producers rather than researchers or public administration officers. Some private associations have become involved in aquaculture production. For example, in Costa Rica the Association of Banana Producers began experimenting with freshwater prawns in 1976 and currently operates a hatchery and commercial farm. The Trout Farmers' Association of Dota operates a hatchery with the support of the University of Guelph (Canada) for the supply of fingerlings to members.
The Brazil Aquaculture Association groups many medium and large-scale commercial producers and facilitates the exchange of information on technical, managerial, and national policy matters concerning the sector. There is also a Frog Producers' Association of Goiana which meets annually and publishes a bulletin to provide technical information to its associate members.
In Chile, the ProChile organization supports national exports through international promotion, and includes commodities (salmon and shellfish) from the aquaculture industry.
In Colombia the Industrial National Association has a Committee which associates the shrimp producers of the Caribbean coast. The National Aquaculture Association is formed by trout farmers and by the Pacific shrimp producers. Locally the trout farmers of other provinces of Huila have formed their own association. The National Board of Coffee Producers is also now involved in aquaculture according to its diversification policies, and has also become an important trade association.
The Chamber of Shrimp Producers of Ecuador has over 120 members, many of whom are among the largest shrimp farmers of the country.
In Mexico the National Federation of Cooperative Societies is the main trade association in shrimp and oyster culture, as the Fisheries Law reserves these species exclusively to cooperative societies. The Mexican Aquaculture Association also acts as a trade association as most producers are affiliated. The National Fisheries Industry Chamber is gaining importance as an aquaculture trade association as some members have also associated into cooperative societies to be entitled to become shrimp producers.
Shrimp producers in Peru have also associated themselves into a consortium with the specific object of gaining access to loans and credits. Over 40 companies have thus formed the Industrial Shrimp Farmers' Consortium.
There are few, if any, resources of information for management produced in the region. There are a number of newsletters which contain a range of information for all levels of the sector, such as "Acuicultura", produced by the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean for the aquaculture network; "ALA Informativa", "AQUARIUS" and "Revista Latinoamericana de Acuicultura", INFOPESCA and INFOFISH International, and "Aquaculture Digest" (see 1.6 and 4.6).
Some of AQUILA's publications contain information relevant to national infrastructure as one of its main activities is to create a framework for planning and management of sectors in the region.
Through its newsletter "Aquaculture Minutes" and several other relevant publications, ADCP is rapidly becoming a valuable information resource for management in the region.
The most important management circular, which at times has relevance for aquaculture in the region, is "Eurofish Report". This is a two-weekly review of European and world fishing and fisheries, with comprehensive coverage of EEC legislation and the Common Fisheries Policy. It usually contains some information about aquaculture, including EEC grants and loans, legislation, new investments, joint-ventures, and supplies and prices.
At this level there have been few technical assistance projects for strengthening administration of the sector, or for directly developing national policies and plans. At the present time Mexico is receiving assistance from the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme for national planning. There has been much indirect assistance. Bilateral and multilateral agencies (through education and study tours in aquaculturally-developed countries) have included government administrators in projects to provide opportunities for knowledge to identify and implement national aquaculture policies and plans, or used project resources to strengthen the capabilities of national administrators to manage public resources required by the sector.
More direct help has come from regional projects. AQUILA, funded by the Government of Italy and executed by FAO, is providing countries of the region with the basis for national development plans, and for obtaining technical and capital assistance. AQUILA is directing and partly financing national studies of the aquaculture sector in all Latin American countries. The basic studies were finalized in the first quarter of 1989, and subsequently published. This effort was helped by the ADCP which provided guideline documents for planning and sector surveys.
During the first half of the 1980s the Latin American Regional Aquaculture Centre based at Pirassununga in Brazil, which was funded by UNDP and the Government of Italy and implemented by FAO, provided multidisciplinary training for aquaculturists with university backgrounds. The year-long course was aimed at providing senior public sector aquaculturists with the knowledge to identify and implement national aquaculture plans.