After the Environmental Licensing Authority rejected a request for pangasius (Pangasius hypophthalmus) to be allowed into the country, fish farmers from Huila insist that the Government must review the statements supporting such decision.
Aquaculture producers announced new actions to be undertaken by the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment in order to authorise the entry of panga and to allow them to perform the respective studies to validate the feasibility of starting its production in Huila.
Marnie Conde, the manager of Technology Development Centre (Acuapez), confirmed that they met with the Minister of Agriculture, Ruben Dario Lizarralde, and that he was informed about the need to review the evidence of ANLA to deny entry of the species to Colombia.
The fish farmers expect to carry out the technical, physical, chemical, experimental and marketing studies that are needed to produce panga.
“Twenty days ago, fish farmers met with the Minister of Agriculture; we presented him the problems of the sector on the need to let us perform this pilot project in Huila to evaluate the possibility of producing pangasius,” stated Conde.
She also said the minister promised to consult the ANLA and the Environment Minister.
However, Conde admitted they are concerned that most chain supermarkets operating in Huila are offering imported pangasius fillets at a lower price than tilapia fillets, which does not make them competitive.
In addition, she explained that Humboldt Institute believes there is a risk that the species will escape into the wild and cause environmental damage, affecting native species and biodiversity.
But she argued that the entity ignores a resolution of the National Authority for Aquaculture and Fisheries, which provides for the adoption of biosecurity for the management of these species, reported La Nacion.
Therefore, she ensured they will continue insisting on using the “maximum instances” and make the national executive to allow them to import the species to develop an experimental plan.
The panga is a fast growing species that in less than eight months can weigh between 1 and 1.5 kilos with a high economic benefit to the farmers.