Climatic risks for fish farming in the Bolivian Amazon

Climatic risks for fish farming in the Bolivian Amazon

Public stakeholders, financial agencies and producers are interested in identifying success and/or risk factors to plan for the development of fish farming in specific areas. Using geographic tools (GIS), the Peces para la Vida II Project assessed and mapped factors affecting aquaculture potential and risks, including climate - related risks. This approach can be used to prioritize new projects or consolidate existing ones, and to verify feasibility of aquaculture in terms of economic and environmental sustainability.

In recent decades, fish farming in Bolivia has been identified as an activity that has the potential to play an important role in rural areas, diversifying livelihoods and improving food security. However, this activity is still generally incipient. It is growing in some regions of the country (as in Yapacani), and is stagnant in others, suggesting that there are local and/or regional factors that regulate its development.

Climatic factors can be decisive. Availability of water in ponds and maintaining optimal temperature for fish growth are both climate-dependent. This study looked at risks attributed to long drought periods, flooding and low water temperature during periods of prolonged cold fronts that slow growth and/or cause mortality.

The resulting maps show that there is no relation between the estimated climatic risks and the number of current fish ponds in a municipality. This suggests that producers do not take into account risk factors due to climate in the decision to engage in fish farming.

This leads to two important alternatives currently being explored: climatic risk is lower than expected or existing fish farming is vulnerable to climatic factors.

José Zubieta, FAUNAGUA,
Felipe L. Lobo, UVIC,

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