Brazilian aquaculture producers are celebrating approval of a provisional measure they say will transform their sector.

The measure allows for the lifting of normal environmental licensing requirements for the duration of the coronavirus health crisis to allow producers to raise funds to maintain fish in the water at production sites.

In Brazil, provisional measures are used by governments to push through policy but often remain in place unless they are challenged in court.

"From now on we have altered the threshold of our businesses," Francisco Medeiros, CEO of aquaculture producers trade body Peixe BR, said in a video sent to IntraFish following approval of the measure in the Senate.

"We are certain that we will have speedier processes to gain access to waters across the country and are effectively going to be able to transform Brazil into a great aquaculture power."

Before the measure was approved by lawmakers on Tuesday, producers of tilapia and Brazilian native species were unable to raise funds without proper environmental licensing paperwork.

The prerequisite does not apply to cattle farmers and soy and corn producers, who are able to benefit from government sanctioned loans or other handouts during the crisis.

In a country renowned for multi-layered federal and state bureaucracies it takes an average of more than 400 days for environmental operating licensing paperwork to be rubber stamped.

The fallout from this is now being felt among Brazil's fish farmers, 99 percent of whom operate on a small scale, and/or as part of cooperatives.

The Brazilian aquaculture industry could grow by 7-10 percent per year just by the government speeding up the process of approving licences for producers, Peixe BR previously said.

Brazilian tilapia production was roughly 432,149 metric tons in 2019, an 8 percent increase from a year earlier, while production of native species fell nearly 5 percent in 2019 to 287,930 metric tons as structural problems, including in processing and marketing, in addition to difficulties obtaining environmental licences, held the industry back.