Video credit: Juan Martin Canturin Garcia (Peru)
Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the video channel and website)
Arapaima gigas is Known as paiche in Peru and pirarucu in Brazil and Colombia. This species is one of the largest freshwater scaled fishes in the world. Paiche is characterized by its excellent high growth rate, no intramuscular spines, and tolerance to low oxygen as the species is an air breathing fish.
The fishing pressure has placed the wild populations of the species at risk leading to listing the species as endangered by the Convention on International Trade of Wild Fauna and Flora Species and placing this species is in the CITES II section (strictly regulated and controlled commerce). Thus, paiche has to be exclusively produced in aquaculture facilities including its fry production which has been already achieved. Moreover, farmed arapaima has to be certified by CITES authorities for export and import.
The species enjoys high demand in the amazon region. Also, preliminary market survey suggests a high market demand which could be established in the international. All of the above encouraged the farming initiatives of the species.
Because of the short history of arapaima farming, some management methods and facilities such as ponds and cage have been explored. For example, due to the carnivorous feeding habits of the species, protein-rich diets are being used. In line with that, research efforts are underway attempting to develop feed formulations with reduced costs and efficient FCRs. The forage system has been practiced by small-scale producers in which the species are stocked along with sufficient density of native forage species such as bujurqui and/or mojarra which secure a forage base for optimum growth of “paiche”. However, the present video shows that the farm relies on artificial feed; one may notice the large size of pellets used compared to smaller species. It may worth mentioning that the training of “Paiche” to consume artificial feed has been considered a key characteristic towards the farming of the species. Initial practices indicated the ability of “Paiche” to consume artificial feed of 40 -50% protein and reach a weight of about 12 kg after 12 months of growth.
This video was filmed in a fish farm upon harvesting using net seine then after shows the harvest in a plant where processing and packing took place.