Eying USD 1.8 billion opportunity, Argentina in talks with China to develop aquaculture

Published on
August 11, 2021

Argentina’s government is working with China as a strategic technology  partner to develop its domestic aquaculture sector.

Argentina's national director of aquaculture, Guillermo Abdala, estimated aquaculture could generate revenue of at least USD 1.8 billion (EUR 1.5 billion) annually for the South American nation.

“Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, with enormous potential to grow in the cultivation of various fish species. Globally, 54 percent of the aquatic protein for human consumption comes from aquaculture, not from fishing. Meanwhile, [in Argentina] 99.2 percent of the sector's foreign commerce comes from fishing and represents about USD 1.8 billion a year. So, with local aquaculture development we could aspire to generate at least another USD 1.8 billion,” Abdala told Ámbito.

China is the world’s largest aquaculture producer, at around 53 million metric tons (MT) a year, and Argentina will look to partner with China to adopt some of its practices, Abdala said. Abdala, along with Argentine Fisheries and Aquaculture Undersecretary of the Nation Carlos Liberman and Argentine Foreign Affairs Ministry Undersecretary for Promotion and Investments Pablo Sívori, recently met with Argentine Ambassador to China Sabino Vaca Narvaja to finalize the details of cooperation and information exchange regarding its arrangement with China. Another meeting is expected to be held in the coming weeks to begin to outline technical aspects of the agreement.

At the same time, the government will formally present a national program for sustainable aquaculture development, under a law enacted in 2017. The national government will look to work in coordination with the provinces to expand the sector while ensuring sustainable natural resource management.

"We are working hard on the regulations and legislation, so that no project can be carried out in the country without complying with the framework of the sustainable development law," Abdala said.

Argentina has not been unanimously welcoming to commercial aquaculture. At the beginning of July, the legislature in Argentina’s southernmost province of Tierra del Fuego unanimously approved a bill prohibiting coastal salmon farming, which was widely celebrated by environmental organizations including Greenpeace Argentina, as well as indigenous groups, Tierra del Fuego politicians, and celebrity chef Francis Mallman.

Photo courtesy of Oleksii G/Shutterstock

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