Planning for the development of sustainable shrimp farming in Lagoa dos Patos: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
The cultivation of the pink shrimp Farfantepenaeus paulensis in pens can emerge as an alternative activity for supplementing the income of fishermen in the extreme south of Lagoa dos Patos. Mariculture for being a user and dependent on natural resources needs to be inserted in the ecological socioeconomic context of the region. The first step was to carry out diagnostics that demonstrated the estuary's value for fauna and flora, as well as its socioeconomic importance for fishermen in the region. Then, a survey was made of the areas prone to the installation of pens in places with easy access to the communities. Many, although advantageous for shrimp farming in pens, have environmental restrictions mainly due to the legal zoning in the region that aims to protect estuarine communities. Other locations,close to the urban centers of Rio Grande and São José do Norte cannot support aquaculture activities because they have port areas and vessel traffic. It was also necessary to seek to understand the impacts caused by crops. The biggest concerns are regarding the predation on the benthic fauna, release of nitrogen compounds and phosphorus in the water, increase of organic matter in the sediment, modification of the local circulation, and other problems that may arise such as the capture of wild larvae and the supply of pathogens . The adoption of monitoring programs and a suggested code of conduct will serve to mitigate impacts. They should also support studies of the capacity to support the places to be occupied. With all these bases it was then possible to carry out an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses,opportunities and threats to assist in the planning and promotion of shrimp farming in pens. As forces the activity employs family labor, the final product is valued in the market and has a strong social value, but the rural exodus, the increase in pollution and the lack of credit are threats to the growth of activity. For greater profitability, investments in infrastructure for processing, storage and sale of fish are necessary. Fishermen also need to adapt to this new productive system and have more confidence in its success. It is common for a new activity to face resistance and initial difficulties. Organization and social empowerment are generally achieved over the long term and with the expenditure of continuous effort on the part of the development agencies.