Colombia's aquaculture industry is focusing on expanding exports by offering high-quality products raised on the Caribbean coast.
The industry has benefited from the scientific work of the Colombian Aquaculture Research Center, or Ceniacua, which has helped improve the quality of species from its base in Punta Canoa, located about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from Cartagena.
Ceniacua, which was founded in 1993 and carries out government-funded research projects, provides fish and shrimp larvae to fish farms in an effort to develop aquaculture in a country with access to both the Atlantic and Pacific.
"Colombia is a country with two coasts ... which has tremendous diversity and does not have aquaculture. That's a bit absurd," Ceniacua scientific director Marcela Salazar said, adding that the goal was to make the industry viable, generate profits and create jobs.
Ceniacua has also provided consulting services to companies in Thailand, Hawaii, Belize and Ecuador, as well as exporting small quantities to China, Salazar said.
"When we started, we had 4,000 hectares (9,876 acres) under cultivation with shrimp in Colombia," Salazar said, noting that Ecuador had about 120,000 hectares (296,296 acres) at the time.
Colombia, which has about 1,000 hectares (2,469 acres) of shrimp farms, has a potential that "is at least six times bigger" than Ecuador's, Salazar said. EFE