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Growing demand for tilapia pushing Brazilian aquaculture to expand

Aquaculture in Brazil is growing, even when faced with an economy in recession.

Brazil's aquaculture sector is a $1.3 billion (€1.1 billion) industry that is seeing growth despite reduced availability of credit during the economic crisis and drought conditions suffered in the northeast state of Ceará.

Industry bosses forecast 7-8 percent growth in 2017 lead by fast-growing demand for tilapia.

The Brazilian fish sector faces challenges to catch up with other proteins. They include a lack of nationwide environmental licensing rules holding up the development of the industry, shifts and inconsistencies in government policy through the years and bureaucratic and costly approval processes involving multiple agencies.

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The likes of Geneseas and MCassab are bringing more modern and smarter processes and developments in packaging technology to the country, and are spurring growth and investment.

Brazil’s $600 million (€512 million) shrimp industry is aiming to double production to 120,000 metric tons by 2020 as it attempts to bounce back from the latest setback to periodically beset the sector.

Tilapia farming has become Brazil’s largest aquaculture industry helped by the country’s abundance of freshwater and tropical climate.

Between 2005 and 2015, Brazilian tilapia production grew more than 200 percent and 10 percent a year on average.

While tilapia and native species tambaqui may be the undoubted stars of the Brazilian aquaculture scene, interest is growing in other home grown types.

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