1. Characteristics, structure and resources of the sector
    1. Summary
    2. History and general overview
    3. Human resources
    4. Farming systems distribution and characteristics
    5. Cultured species
    6. Practices/systems of culture
  2. Sector performance
    1. Production
    2. Market and trade
    3. Contribution to the economy
  3. Promotion and management of the sector
    1. The institutional framework
    2. The governing regulations
    3. Applied research, education and training
  1. Trends, issues and development
    1. References
      1. Bibliography
      2. Related links
    Characteristics, structure and resources of the sector
    The semi-industrial, commercial aquaculture activity in Argentina began to expand in the 1990s, and even though its growth has not been accelerated, it has been steady. The country’s main aquaculture crop is the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) reaching 1 231 tonnes (2003) which is equivalent to 74 percent of the national aquatic production. This production could be doubled in the next few years when the new concessions in the Alicurá impoundment, Northern Patagonia, begin operations.

    Pacu (Piaractus mesopotamicus) production runs second. The trade of this species began in the year 2000, with 70 tonnes, and has grown steadily, with 300 tonnes/year of live product (18 percent of Argentina’s aquatic production). The great decrease in capture fisheries of this species in the La Plata River (Quirós, 1990) and producers’ interest in culturing it due its high market demand, lead to foresee an increased aquaculture production.

    Bi-valve molluscs occupy the third place in aquaculture production. Oysters are raised in the southern portion of the coastline of the Buenos Aires province, while mussels are produced in Río Negro, Chubut and Tierra del Fuego. According to their importance, cultivated products include Pacific cupped oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and two species of mussels (Mytilus edulis and M. chilensis). Their production has reached the market since the year 2000, and by 2003, 80 tonnes were commercialised (which is equivalent to 5 percent of total aquaculture production), showing at present a sustained growth.

    Finally, the aquatic production table is completed with the cultivation of some species through small-scale monoculture (rural aquaculture) and extensive aquaculture-based fisheries produced in certain bodies of water; such as the silverside (Odonthestes bonariensis) in the central zone of the humid pampas, obtaining productions that reach between 80 and 120 kg/ha/year or more, depending on the farming environment. The production of silverside fingerlings is estimated at over 3.5 million units carried out by several production hatcheries.

    The cultivation of the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus), is carried out in mono- or poly-culture along with other carps or pacu by small-scale rural producers. This type of activity is developed mainly at the Misiones province (NEA), as is the cultivation of tilapia (20 and 3 tonnes, respectively).

    For the temperate to warm, and for the temperate regions, the cultivation of two high commercial value species, American bull frog (Rana catesbeiana) and the red-claw lobster (Cherax quadricarinatus) can be underlined. Both are cultivated in greenhouse systems or under temperature-controlled conditions.

    In the sub-tropical region, the yacare (Caimán latirostris) is also cultivated under the ranching system, with 50 000 animals/year (of approximately 4 to 5 kg/piece). The meat is commercialised in the Buenos Aires market (Arg$ 12/kg) and the leather in internal and external markets; the price of the leather is US$2.0/cm wide (A. Larriera, personal comm.).

    Finally, the aquarium activity gathers numerous producers and merchants; in 2004 exports reached 370 000 units, overcoming earlier imports of ornamental species (S. Panné et al, 2004).
    History and general overview
    At the beginning of the twentieth century, several species of salmon were introduced with the objective of stocking the Patagonian lakes with a view on sports fishing (species included rainbow trout and its steelhead variety, brown trout, brook trout, Atlantic salmon, and enclosed salmon encerrado). Of all these species, the rainbow trout, along with the brown trout, were the ones that adapted with most ease. Later, at the onset of fish farming, the first was used for artisanal farming and eventually also for semi-industrial operations, such as the ones practiced nowadays.

    Also at the beginning of the century, in 1904, the first artificially induced spawning of the silverside (Odonthestes bonariensis) was attained in the Buenos Aires province, and after 1940 the stocking of several bodies of water all over the country was practised annually. There even exists several sport fishing grounds of this species in the temperate region.

    The Salmon Aquaculture Centre in Bariloche was built in 1932, and was in charge of supplying eggs and fingerlings of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) for extensive farming and cultivation until the 1990s, having been distributed to those places in the country which were adequate for the production of this species. At present, restocking is carried out in each province that possesses suitable conditions, all the way from Jujuy in the North of the country, down to Tierra del Fuego.

    Since the mid-1960s, aquaculture is carried out under totally controlled and strictly commercial-oriented conditions. Even though the first establishment dedicated to the cultivation of rainbow trout was located in the Buenos Aires province, as of 1970 establishments in Northern Patagonia were founded (producing between 30 and 100 tonnes/year).

    It is in this last region where the greatest production of this species of trout is obtained. At first, its culture was carried out in concrete raceways, built on land and with high water exchange rates. After the 1990s, most aquaculture operations are carried out in suspended cages, while the raceways are still used by small producers (of no more than 30 tonnes/year). One-gram fingerlings that will be moved to cages are cultivated in the same existing hatcheries and belong to private businesses or to the provincial government. A small percentage of eyed-eggs are imported from the United Status, while most producers are supplied with Argentinean breed lines.

    The first research studies for developing technology for the cultivation of pacu (Piaractus mesopotamicus) were initiated in the 1980s, achieving its induced reproduction at the beginning of the 1990s, as well as the first data on growth and production. The cultivation of this species is carried out in land-based excavated ponds in semi-intensive systems. Today, farming in suspended cages is being attempted, based on experiences developed at the National Aquatic Development Centre (Centro Nacional de Desarrollo Acuícola, CENADAC).

    The mollusc crops were developed on technology adapted to the country’s conditions, in the Hatchery and Laboratorio de S.A. Oeste, Río Negro, in the 1990s, although the first attempts were originated in the 1980s. Towards the turn of the century, consumption-oriented production was initiated. Artisanal mollusc culture is practiced today in the Buenos Aires province (oyster), Chubut and Tierra del Fuego (mussels).

    The farming of the Pacific cupped oyster began through the accidental introduction of the Crassostrea gigas in Bahía Anegada (Buenos Aires province), where it is today produced and extracted. The formation of a natural bank in the 1980 provided the initial spawners and triggered the first successful experiences of its cultivation, although today seed continues to be extracted from the bank itself.

    Small-scale aquaculture schemes with rural producers began in 1970 at the Misiones province. These were prompted by the division of land in small parcels of only 25 hectares called “minifundios” . Since the late 1980s onwards, the cultivated area and the number of producers have continued to grow, having overpassed two hundred. The production of these fish farmers, which includes the amur or “Siberian salmon”, several species of carps, pacu, and tilapia, is sold in the local market.

    The culture of ornamental species in the country has a long history, enduring the ups and downs of the economic situation of the country. The main cultured species are ciprinids and chyclids and the most important establishments are located in the Cordoba, Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Corrientes provinces.
    Human resources
    The professionals and technicians that participate today in the sector come from different areas, such as biology, agronomy and veterinary. The technical ladder is full of Technicians in Aquaculture, mainly graduates of the Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Patagonia, considered the oldest in the country in this discipline. At the tertiary level, another Aquaculture Technical Specialty is taught in the central area (Rosario, Santa Fe) and the Technical Specialty in Fishing and Mariculture, in San Antonio Oeste, Río Negro.

    In the year 2000 the first post-graduate degree (Masters in Aquaculture) is opened, offered by the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, within the Graduate School of the Agronomy Faculty.

    All of the aquatic activity developed in the country is of a commercial nature (excepting the freshwater fish farming stations dedicated to the extensive farming of silverside and trout in various provinces). During recent years, the number of labourers involved in these enterprises, both artisanal and semi-industrial, which also include family nuclei, has increased.

    - Quantity
    Operators: full time 47
    Operators: half-time (harvest) 20
    Aquaculture technicians 17
    Professionals * 19
    Small producers ** 190-220

    Note: * Biologists, veterinarians, and agronomists, among others.
    ** Includes owners of family businesses, rural fish farming, where the owner carries out the operations geared towards production. Includes only those establishments registered at the Aquaculture Directorate.
    Does not include 16 aquarium establishments that import and export ornamental organisms (several of them involving their farming).

    - Personnel
    Operators 61
    Attendants 6
    Foremen 6

    Note: In the cultivation establishments that own a processing plant, the personnel is shifted according to requirements. Aquaculture have also access to the fisheries processing plants, numerous in the country.

    The female/male worker ratio has not been determined, even though cultivation tasks are carried out by men, while women’s participation is higher in processing plants.
    Farming systems distribution and characteristics
    According to the Aquaculture Directorate (2001) the territory was divided in the following aquatic basins, including currently cultured and potential species
    • Temperate warm and sub-tropical basin (with prolonged growing seasons). Includes the Misiones, Corrientes, Formosa, Chaco, Tucumán and Santiago del Estero provinces; the Northern part of the Entre Ríos, Santa Fe and Córdoba provinces, and western Salta and Jujuy. This basin is ideal for potential warm and temperate species, such as catfish, surubí, rollizo, bagre, cucharón, pirapitai or river salmon, bullfrog, Pacu, tilapia, Malaysian shrimp, red claw lobster, yacaré, ornamental fish and invertebrates, among other species.
    • Temperate cold and mountainous basin (Patagonian mountain range and sierra). This basin crosses the country from North to South, including the Western areas of Salta and Jujuy, the Catamarca, La Rioja, San Juan, Mendoza provinces, the Eastern area of La Pampa and the Patagonian provinces of Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego. It has cold waters of medium to high flows, running from the sierras or glaciers; unrivalled in quality and conditions. Apt for salmon and other crops.
    • Continental temperate basin (humid pampa and surroundings). Is integrated by the Buenos Aires, Córdoba and San Luis provinces; the South of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos, and the West of the La Pampa province. Due to its more restricted climatic characteristics, it is apt for species such assilverside, catfish, sturgeon, grass carp (amur) or Siberian salmon, as well as ornamental fish.
    • Temperate to temperate cold basin (marine coastline). This region covers mostly the temperate Buenos Aires and part of the Río Negro province, as well as the temperate cold weather of Chubut and Santa Cruz, and the colder Tierra del Fuego. This is the most restricted area for cultivation, due to the cold weather (except for salmon), covering the Southern area of the Santa Cruz province and Tierra del Fuego.
    The country’s main production area is located in the temperate cold basin and within this wide area, in the Alicurá reservoir, shared between the Río Negro and Neuquén provinces. Production is raised in suspended cages that do not take up over two hectares of the total area of the reservoir; conservative estimates state that they only take up a third of its carrying capacity, which was calculated in approximately 3 400 tonnes, according to Wicki and Luchini (1996)

    The second place in production, although it takes up a larger area, is found in the temperate warm and sub-tropical basin. Within it, the main cultivation zone is found in the Formosa and Misiones provinces; it occupies about 150 has of the first and over 250 ha of the second. The latter contributes the greatest production of Pacu.
    Cultured species
    The rainbow trout contributes 84 percent of the total national aquatic production in Argentina. The species was introduced along with other salmons at the beginning of the 20th century, and semi-industrial commercial crops expanded after the 1990s in concessions for implementing cages in hydro-electric production reservoirs, along the Limay River (II Basin Region). In the temperate cold basin, salmon can be considered “feral” or untamed, because they have successfully adapted to the bodies of water in the whole Patagonia region. This results in important economic benefits for rural populations due to the income derived from sports fishing, which is widely exploited in the region.

    Pacu cultivation runs second, with 18 percent of the country’s total production. The biomass of this indigenous species, which was widely distributed in the La Plata River basin (Quirós, 1990) at the beginning of the 1980s, began to diminish, as was the case of other species too, with the result that the fisheries of these species have decreased. This fact, added to the great demand by consumers in the riverside area of the country, contributes to the sector’s present growth, with great possibilities for expansion, especially in the country’s sub-tropical area (East and West), where its cultivation is excellent (I Basin Region) and the species is much appreciated.

    The third place in productive importance is held by bi-valve molluscs, which contributed 5 percent to the total production in 2003. Bivalve culture has continued to expand significantly.

    In this case, we are referring to the native mussels (Mytilus edulis and M. chilensis) with cultivation technology adapted to local conditions; and an exotic species, the cupped or Japanese oyster. Once artificial reproduction of shellstock spawners obtained from the natural banks formed by C. gigas was achieved, the development of cultivation technologies was carried out by the provincial Hatchery and Laboratory of San Antonio Oeste, Río Negro, which depends from the Storni Institute, (IV Basin Region).
    Practices/systems of culture
    The production of the various species previously mentioned is obtained through completely different cultivation systems.

    Trout cultivation is carried out in two systems: the first one uses land-based raceways built in concrete, for the production of edible fish in small quantities, as well as for the production of fingerlings for on-growth at the same facility or for other producers. The second one includes the pre-growth and on-growth phases, carried out in suspended cages in provincial-leased water impoundments. The most widely utilised cages are square ones, made of galvanized iron, measuring 10 m x 10 m or 15 m x 15 m, based on Chilean technology but built in-country. Only the internal net-meshing is imported from Chile, due to their cheaper price. Intensive cultivation is practiced with final stocking densities of 8 to 10 kg/m3 .

    In the Northern zone (where pacu and other species are produced), cultivation systems are mostly semi-intensive, carried out in clay-soil earthen ponds of variable dimensions. The main producers use on-growth ponds that measure between 3 and 20 ha, while smaller producers have ponds ranking between 1 000 m2 and 1 ha. In most of the latter, systems do not have supplementary aeration or water exchanges, except refilling to compensate water losses through filtration and evaporation. The production in these systems can reach between 1 000 to 3 000 kg/ha/year.

    Along the coastline, bi-valve mollusc production is carried out in different systems, according to the physical features of the coast and the species cultured. For the cultivation of oyster, the subtidal rack culture system is used. It utilises iron structures, whose legs are stuck on the bottom. Oysters are cultivated within plastic mesh bags, tied to the central structure. The bags are only replaced when oysters pass from the pre-growth to the on-growth phases.

    The cultivation of mussels uses a long-line system suspended on the surface or sub-surface, in coastal or open waters. This system is used all along the Patagonian coastline (Río Negro, Chubut and Tierra del Fuego), because it has the advantage that it can be installed in open waters regardless of the depth, as is the case of the Argentinean coast. In Tierra del Fuego, flat-bottomed boats can also be used on the Beagle Channel.

    Lesser production species use one of the following systems: in the case of frogs (Rana catesbeiana), the super-intensive system is used, carried out in 1 square meter boxes that can be piled up, with a load of up to 150 individuals during the pre-growth stage and 80 ind/m2 at the grow-out stage. In turn, Cherax lobster is cultivated in semi-intensive systems.
    Sector performance
    Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss 1 231 5 420 000
    Pacu Piaractus mesopotamicus 300 810 000
    Grass carp Ctenopharingodon idellus 20 44 000
    Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus 5 8 500
    Oyster Crassostrea gigas 50 50 000
    Mussel Mytilus edullis platense and M. Chilensis 30 24 900
    American bull frog Rana catesbeiana 10 50 000
    Red-claw lobster Cherax quadricarinatus 1 10 000
    Yacaré overo Caiman latirostris 200 2 US$/cm2 leather width

    Source: Aquacultural Directorate. SAGPyA. Aquacultural Statistics, 2003.

    An example of aquaculture-based fisheries is the 35 000 ha La Picasa lake (Santa Fe and Buenos Aires Provinces) where silverside is exploited commercially. Annual yields are very variable, although it is estimated at 50 kg/ha/year, with a mean annual production of 1 750 tonnes.

    The graph below shows total aquaculture production in Argentina according to FAO statistics:

    Market and trade
    The marketing of trout is carried out under different presentations: fresh, frozen, whole or filleted; as well as added value products, mainly smoked.

    The most demanded market size is the 240-280 g fish under different presentations: whole, deboned, or filleted, which is commercialised both fresh and frozen. Fillets for the domestic markets are vacuum-packed. Processing of this product is carried out in two establishments located near the production centres.

    In addition to the North Patagonian producing region, where product is marketed mainly in tourist resorts, the greatest receptor is the city of Buenos Aires, followed by important cities such as Rosario and Córdoba (1.5 million/inhab each). The international market is supplied by one single enterprise, which exports trout fillets by air to the United States via Miami, (in 2004: 200 tonnes fresh weight fillets from 450 g trout).

    The existing demand in the domestic market is not known, although it is estimated to be over 50 tonnes/month in the city of Buenos Aires, in different presentations: fresh or frozen, whole or in fillet, with or without bones, smoked and in different sizes. Restaurants constitute a major market segment for both fresh and frozen presentations as well as for processed end-products; the latter are also demanded by delicatessen stores. Producer prices for whole eviscerated-frozen or butterfly fillet without bones presentations oscillate between Arg$11.00 and Arg$13.50/kg pending on size (parity Arg$2.90 = US$ 1.00); to wholesale dealers sell to restaurants at Arg$16.50/kg to restaurants, and end consumers pay between Arg$24-27/kg in supermarkets or fish markets. The price of wholesale dealers for smoked trout is Arg$29/kg, who sell to restaurants and catering houses or delicatessen skinless-smoked (catering type) in slices or medallions at Arg$34-39/kg. The hyper chain stores and supermarkets offer fresh and processed trout (smoked, pâtés, etc.) all over the country at a higher price, though demand is significant only in tourist centres. Organic trout of a larger size, of over 1.5 kg produced in natural Patagonian lakes, is marketed at a smaller scale.

    The pacu market is important, because this fish is known and appreciated in all the riverside provinces of the Paraná and Uruguay river basins. It is currently marketed whole eviscerated, cut in half, skin-on and deboned (it has intra-muscular bones in a Y-shape), though it is also processed as hamburger. The minimal size for its entry into the market is around 1.2 kg/piece, and it can be found in pieces of up to 2 kg.

    In a poll carried out by Wicki et al. (2001), a greater preference for the product in the riverside localities of the Paraná river was recorded in comparison with Buenos Aires. Since the poll was conducted, the price of this product has increased from Arg$4/kg in 2001 to Arg$12/kg in 2004); which shows an unsatisfied demand in the market. On the other hand, the half cut boneless fillet presentation or whole for the grill is now entering the upper-echelon restaurant Buenos Aires market; its export being imminent.

    As for bi-valve molluscs, the main market is the city of Buenos Aires, where the product is marketed both fresh and frozen. The large hyper and supermarket chains carry the product in their stores at the capital and main cities of the territory, although a large proportion is marketed directly at the local level while the rest is destined to canning in Patagonian processing plants.
    Contribution to the economy
    The average consumption rate of fishery products in Argentina is relatively low: 13 kg per capita/year (total products) as determined in the last decade of the past century for the city of Buenos Aires, the most important marketplace in the country. Afterwards, due to the country’s economic recession, the market contracted because of the diminishing purchasing power of the population. Though there are no current statistics, it is estimated that the average consumption rates is running at about 7 kg/capitayear). The eating habits of the Argentinean population have traditionally been inclined towards red meat though consumption (51 kg/person/year) has also decreased in time due to various factors, namely health wise; thus turning towards chicken and other meat products (fish, rabbit, lamb, porc).

    The last years have seen an increase in the number of selling points offering more diversified fishery products. All supermarkets have an area dedicated to seafood products, both fresh and frozen, and including marine and freshwater products (10 years ago, freshwater species were not offered, except for silverside).

    Despite today’s greater supply, time is still needed for the development of ideal conditions that may attract a greater number of consumers, especially because the population with a medium purchasing power considers the price of fish high as compared to that of red meat or chicken (Luchini, 2004).

    Sixty percent of consumption in the fish bracket is located in the city of Buenos Aires and the Greater Buenos Aires, followed by the cities of Córdoba (5.5 percent) and Rosario (5.1 percent). However, in all riverside cities fish constitutes an appreciated and available food, though there are no precise figures on its consumption.

    Rural aquaculture, as a tool for poverty alleviation, or indirectly through diversification of lands with surface area under 200 ha, is not representative in production values nor is it a generalized modality. Only in the Misiones province – located between parallels 25°28’ and 28°10’S, and 53°38’ and 50°03’W (within the Aquatic Basin No. 1) is rural aquaculture significant. This fact is due to the division of its territory (into 25 ha plots), to the predominant migration currents (North and Central Europe), and to the influence of Brazil, with which it shares family ties as well as part of the border.

    According to Codutti and Jacobo (2002) records for that year show that 159 small fish farmers, incorporated to other productive systems, were registered. These producers covered a total aquaculture area of almost 259 hectares. Of the total number of producers, 140 had a crop area of under 1 ha, integrating their aquatic production to the other crops (tobacco, mate herb, tea, vegetables, mandioca, etc.), which represent, in most cases, their main source of income. Over half of these producers are dedicated to the cultivation of carp (common, big-head, silver and amur) with fingerlings generally introduced from Brazil. Fish farmers dedicated to the production of pacu and tilapia under monoculture represent the greatest minority. The productivity of the policulture systems of small producers lies between 350 and 500 kg/ha. Fifty percent of the production is marketed in fairs, while the rest is left for family consumption.
    Promotion and management of the sector
    The institutional framework
    The institution responsible for the administration of the activity at the national level is the Aquaculture Directorate under the Under-Secretary for Fishing and Aquaculture, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Husbandry, Fishing and Food (SAGPyA, in Spanish).

    Actions and Missions of the Aquaculture Directorate

    The Aquaculture Directorate, through its technical team, has the mission of promoting, extending and controlling the development of aquaculture at the national level. Within its activities, the following can be underlined:
    • Promote aquaculture through scientific and technologic research.
    • Stimulate innovation, adaptation and improvement of aquaculture technologies, increasing production and productivity levels, diversifying production.
    • Develop, promote and transfer technologies oriented to deepening the knowledge on the biological aspects of potential species, their aquatic environment and the handling of new species.
    • Promote the efficient practice of aquaculture in all its stages with the object of achieving the rational exploitation of hydro-biological resources.
    • Support the promotion of the activity, through the development of demonstration programmes and projects, and of promotional material. Organize training programmes for agents involved in the promotion of aquaculture throughout the territory.
    • Promote and contribute to the rational exploitation of resources, on the basis of a sustainable, social and communitarian development.
    • Contribute towards the preservation of the aquatic environment, through the development of aquaculture techniques, including those for over-exploited hydro-biological and endangered species. Support the execution of actions to this effect, in those cases where the carrying capacity is considered to be apt for this purpose.
    • Promote and support financial assistance, through preferential loans, for the development of artisanal and self-consumption aquaculture.
    • Contribute to the creation of productive jobs, through production diversification in rural areas.
    • Incorporate aquaculture to the national statistical system thus complying with current legislation.
    • Propitiate the concentration of economic, financial and technological resources coming from internal and external cooperation sources.
    • Support and develop institutional strengthening and improvement of their management results.
    • Support marketing, processing and added value processing studies to facilitate distribution and delivery mechanisms of aquaculture products.
    The governing regulations
    According to Filippo (2004), who carried out a preliminary review of the existing rules at the national and provincial levels, it can be said that in the Argentinean Republic, the provinces exert all the power that is not reserved to the Federal Government, as established in Article 124 of the National Constitution (1994).

    The Federal Constitution (article 75, paragraph 1) determines that the National Congress should legislate on customs matters, and article 41 establishes that the Nation should dictate the rules containing the minimum dispositions on environmental protection, while Provincial Governments should determine the rules required to implement them, but without altering local jurisdictions. Independently from the regulations that the provinces may sanction according to article 124 of the Constitution, the Nation will apply its minimal environmental dispositions and rules for all industrial aquacultural enterprises that aim to develop inter-jurisdictional commerce, the export of products or the import of exotic and /or autochthonous species.

    The aquaculture regulations at the federal level originate from the Under-ministry of Fishing and Aquaculture, because the Ministerial Law 22 520 (T.O.438/92) assigned the regulation of aquaculture to the Ministry of Economics and Production, through the Under-ministry of Fishing and Aquaculture, Directorate of Aquaculture. In this context, Resolution No. 1314/04 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Husbandry, Fishing and Food –SAGPyA– (which replaced the previous 987/97), regulates the production of Live Aquatic Organisms in the Territory of the Argentinean Republic. All individuals wishing to develop projects must observe these requirements. It is worth mentioning that every project proposed to the provincial spheres that envisages the marketing of fishery products in other jurisdictions or their export, must comply with all the requirements demanded by the Nation. The Nation does not admit projects that have not been previously approved by the respective provinces, and the same applies to the introduction of aquatic organisms or their by-products.

    Resolution SAGPyA No. 1314/04 in its second article, states the definition of an enterprise or establishment of aquatic or aquaculture production as an installation located in a selected geographical place, in which live aquatic organisms are produced, cultivated or kept, with the aim of: a) restocking natural aquatic environments; b) culturing organisms in natural environments intended for sports fishing, and c) cultivation and production of aquatic organisms –plants or animals– intended for human consumption, through existing methodologies or those that could evolve with the development of aquaculture technologies.

    Through article 6, the competent authority reserves for itself the faculty of determining the taxes on the species that will be allowed for their introduction to the national territory, considering possible negative environmental impacts that could result from eventual escapes. In the case the introduction of exotic species is allowed (article 7), these can only be cultivated under intensive or semi-intensive systems, as long as they have previously been awarded provincial guarantees.

    For the control of the aquatic sector, the legislation establishes the mandatory inscription, in the Single National Registrar of Aquaculture Establishments (RENACUA, in Spanish), of productive establishments as well as those dedicated to sports fishing or to the production and marketing of ornamental aquatic organisms (article 8).

    The information and necessary requirements for submitting an “Aquatic Project” are established in article 11: a) objective of the project, selected site, statement of motives and studies that determined the use of the species, whether autochthonous or exotic, data on production, market and all those considered important for cultivation and marketing; b) biological memoir of the species, exotic or autochthonous, country of origin, source (cultured or wild), establishment of origin, dietary habits, reproduction, illnesses, etc.; c) cultivation system to be used; d) identification of the technician or person in charge of the enterprise; e) provincial or municipal certificate of inscription of the establishment; f) sanitary certification, if production undergoes processing; g) two sets of blueprints of the establishment, indicating the dimensions of each structure.

    Once the required documents have been submitted, the Directorate of Aquaculture will issue a certificate to approve or reject the authorization of the establishment, within a term of not more than 30 days (Art. 10). In the case of the initial introduction of an exotic species, the certificate will be temporary until productive regulations become applicable; only thereafter will the definitive certificate be issued. The establishment must submit a summary of the obtained results related to the adaptation of the organisms to captivity, reproduction, nourishment, illnesses, behaviour, production, etc. with the aim of collecting basic knowledge on the species (Art. 15).

    The sanitary authorization for processing is ruled at the national level by the National Service for Food Health (SENASA, in Spanish).

    With the creation of the Federal Council for the Environment, COFEMA, and the subsequent adherence of several provinces to the organism, a new figure emerged, one that exerts control on environmental regulations pertaining to all anthropogenicactivities. The provinces are compelled to accept the regulations adopted by COFEMA, whenever these have been dictated in the form of a Resolution. Greater prevention and correction measures may be adopted with the purpose of ensuring the quality of the environment.

    In the country, 9 out of 23 provinces have developed specific regulations aiming at the advancement of aquaculture. Among them, the following outstand:

    Province of Buenos Aires
    Law No. 11.447, Decree No. 3237/1995.

    Province of Catamarca
    Law No. 4891.

    Province of Chubut
    Law No. 2939 on Continental Aquaculture.
    Law No. 3959 on Mariritme Aquaculture.

    Law No. 3956. Decree No. 447/1994, designates the Ministry of Fishing as the authority empowered to enforce the implementation of the law.

    Province of Misiones
    Fishing Law No. 3952.

    Province of Neuquén
    Law No. 1996; Regulation Decree No. 1548/1993.

    Province of Santa Fe
    Law No. 12.212.

    Province of Tierra del Fuego
    Law No. 244 (modified by Law No. 537).

    Province of Santa Cruz
    Law No. 1464; Disposition No. 239/2000 establishes the requirements for the submission of aquaculture projects.

    Province of Río Negro
    Law No. 2829, regulated by Decree No. 751/2003.
    Applied research, education and training
    Regarding education, the Ministry of Education has granted registration to two specialised degrees (Aquaculture Technician), and there are applications for two more. Both degrees offer careers in Mariculture and general aquaculture, the provincial Institute Storni grants the degree of Technician in Fisheries and Mariculture Production, while the Regional Centre of Bariloche offers the degree of Higher Technician on Aquaculture; both belong to the National University of Comahue. In addition to the former, a private institution in Rosario (Santa Fe) also offers a technical degree. At the post-graduate level, the Graduate School of the Faculty of Agronomy (National University of Buenos Aires) grants the degree of Master in Aquaculture, after the submission of a related thesis. There is a recognised need for the formation of Technicians in Aquaculture, Bachelors Degree in Biology, Veterinary, and Agronomic Engineering.

    With regards to training, the National Centre for Aquatic Development (CENADAC), (which depends from the National Directorate of Aquaculture), offers training programmes of no less than 15 days, centred around theoretical and practical classes, providing in situ lodging for groups of a similar formation, including professionals, technicians and potential or actual producers. These training programmes are conducted every year, from September to May, and include a) general aquaculture concepts; b) nutrition and feeding; c) water quality and management; d) growth, biometry, etc; e) use of equipment, monitoring, cultivation pond dynamics and fertilization; and f) processing and added value (hamburgers and smoked products, etc.).

    Research work in this centre is focused mainly on issues such as reproduction, fingerling production, on-growth, nutrition, diseases, etc., for important or economically potential autochthonous and exotic species, such as pacu (Piaractus mesopotamicus), randia (Rhamdia quelen), Australian lobster (Cherax queadricarinatus) and tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), in ponds and/or cages. The objective is the development of technologies for their future implementation for economically important species.

    The Hatchery and Mollusc Laboratory of the Storni Insitute offers diploma courses upon request, without previously scheduled programmes. The same Institute develops intense scientific and applied research work, and has also carried out the development of artisanal production projects, as well as consulting to producers and businesses.

    Regarding applied research, several national universities conduct, directly or indirectly, aquaculture-related studies. Amongst these outstand: the North-eastern National University (namely ichthyo-pathology); the Central National University (silverside aquaculture development); the Comahue National University (Salmonid pathology, trout culture, and studies on aquatic environments apt for aquaculture). In addition to the former, several Centres dependent on the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research –CONICET, in Spanish–, conduct aquaculture-related developments in topics related to different species (silverside, trout, sea fish, wild salmon, mariculture activities, etc.). Amongst these, the three most important ones are CENPAT, CADIC and INTECH,.

    Another important Centre, this one provincial, is the CEAN (Neuquén Centre for Applied Ecology), which develops projects applied to trout production, whose scope covers, among others, the subject f ichthyo-pathology and the elaboration of balanced rations for salmons.

    At the national level, the National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development –INIDEP- has a laboratory of new products that contributes to the development of added value and silage for aquaculture. The INIDEP also owns a Mariculture Station, specifically dedicated to the development of two species: temperate-water flounder (Paralichthys orbignyanus) and sea bream (Sparus pagrus); the applied technologies for the cultivation of both species are very advanced.

    Public institutions for aquaculture research:
    Institutions Address
    National University of Comahue (UNC) Bariloche Regional Centre (CRUB) Bariloche (Río Negro) Teaching. University technician in Aquaculture. Research
    General San Martín Institute Rosario (Santa Fe) Teaching. Technician in Aquaculture (Tertiary level)
    University of Buenos Aires (UBA) Faculty of Agronomy Autonomous City of Buenos Aires Teaching. Masters in Aquaculture (Postgraduate) Research
    National University of Mar del Plata (UNMP) Mar del Plata (Buenos Aires) Research – Long-distance Aquaculture degree
    National University of Misiones Posadas (Misiones) Research
    National University of Río Cuarto Río Cuarto (Córdoba) Research- Veterinarian Degree
    Central National University Tandil (Buenos Aires) Research
    Northeastern National University. Institute of Ichtiology. Corrientes (Corrientes) Research
    National Centre for Aquatic Development (CENADAC – Directorate of Aquaculture) Santa Ana (Corrientes) Research. Aquatic Development. Training
    INIDEP (National Institute for Research and Development) and Mariculture Station Mar del Plata (Buenos Aires) Research – Technological Development
    Institute for Marine and Fishing Biology, Alte. Storni San Antonio Oeste (Río Negro) - Hatchery and Mollusc Laboratory Research on bi-valve molluscs. Teaching
    CEAN (Centre for Applied Ecology) Junín de los Andes (Neuquén) Research and provinvial control
    INALI (National Institute for Limnology) Santo Tomé (Santa Fe) Research
    INTECH (National Institute for Technology) Chascomus (Buenos Aires) Research
    ILPLA (Institute for Limnology Dr. Ringuelet) La Plata (Buenos Aires) Research
    CENPAT (Patagonia National Centre) Puerto Madryn (Chubut) Reserach
    CADIC (Austral Research Centre) Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) Research
    Trends, issues and development
    Although the internal evolution has been important during the past ten years, current national aquatic production volumes are not relevant when compared to the growth of aquaculture at the regional and global levels. This fact has its origin, on the one hand, in the economic instability suffered in the country in the last years, and on the other, to a strong national trend towards traditional agriculture and husbandry, especially with currently strong expansion of the agricultural frontier.

    The growth of the activity has occurred in an echeloned way (from 300 to over 1 000 tonnes of trout, for example) with plateaus of several years, and then a stagnant growth. Diversification towards other species entering the national or regional markets (pacu, carps, molluscs and shellfish, etc.) allowed for an expansion in the spectrum, giving consumers a greater choice. This included not only the number of cultivated species, but also their presentation: whole and eviscerated, de-boned fillets, hamburgers, frozen and smoked products, etc.

    The decrease in continental and marine fisheries resources has been compensated by an increasing consumption of aquaculture products in both the internal markets, and some times the external market, as well as within the sports fishing activity. This is reflected in a greater demand for training of human resources (carried out on an annual basis by CENADAC), and in the installation of cultivation stations, both private, for production, and governmental, for assistance. Today there are two approved projects for building Fishing and Aquaculture Centres in the provinces of Chubut and Santa Cruz.
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