Nautical services should grow 30% in Itajaí

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Anyone who thinks that Brazilians only eat fish during Holy Week and Christmas is wrong. The per capita fish supply in Brazil (imports + national production - exports) reached the best level in six years: 9.04 kg/inhabitant/year, according to an estimate of the 5th Seafood Brasil Yearbook for 2018. Currently, global consumption is 20 kg/capita/year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO/UN).

With the strategy of diversifying the eating habits of proteins and encouraging the consumption of all types of fish, molluscs and crustaceans, the Instituto ProPescado promotes, between the 1st and 15th of September, the Fish Week.

In its 16th edition, the event will take place in several capitals of the country and will feature actions that guarantee the population's access to different options. “We know that Brazilians often stop eating fish because they think its price is high. But there are more than 400 commercial species for all budgets and tastes that can be found during and after the campaign”, assesses Roberto Imai, director of the ProPescado Institute. “For this reason, we encourage the involvement of the entire production chain in this event, from small producers to large retail chains”, he explains.

In addition, the initiative aims to broaden the debate on Brazilian evolution in what is the sector with the highest revenue among all animal proteins in the world. In 2018, Brazil produced more than 800 thousand tons of fish and shrimp in captivity, according to the Brazilian Association of Pisciculture (PeixeBR) and the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Breeders (ABCC).

If we add the estimated offer of 700 thousand tons of continental and marine fishing and informality, the national availability of fish reaches 1.5 million tons. Imports represented almost 360 thousand tons in the same period. Thus, national fish production represents 82% of fish availability, while only 18% of fish consumed in Brazil comes from abroad. Tilapia continues as the protagonist of the national fish farming, which reached 400 thousand tons in 2018, according to PeixeBR.

In addition, shrimp production in Brazil grew approximately 18% in 2018, reaching 77 thousand tons. Another promising fish is tuna, whose catch reached 54 thousand tons in 2017, according to data from the yearbook, representing a growth of 6% compared to the previous year.

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Myths and Truths about Fish

- All tilapia consumed in Brazil tastes like clay.

Myth. Tilapia is currently the most cultivated fish in Brazilian fish farming in two main systems: excavated tanks and net tanks (cages in reservoirs) and most companies adopt processes that take this sensation off the palate. In addition, the tilapia has a great adaptation to the climate and waters of Brazil, in addition to presenting a meat with a smooth and very healthy flavor.

- The largest volume of consumption is fresh fish.

Myth. The most sold form of presentation of fish is the preparation and preservation of fish. Frozen fish appear in second place, according to data from the 2016 IBGE Annual Industrial Survey. In third place, fillets and portions of fresh, refrigerated or frozen fish appear, followed by crustaceans; fish, fillets and other fish meats, dried, salted and smoked; ending with the molluscs.

- The high cost of fish is related to the scarcity of the product.

Myth. Brazil is a large fish producer and importer, offering the market a wide variety of products and increasing the potential to meet domestic demand. The cost of domestic fish is directly related to the tax burden, distribution logistics and a still small number of processing establishments. Furthermore, another price complicating factor is the scale of production (the larger the scale, the lower the cost).

- Too much ice is synonymous with rotten fish.

Myth. There are regions in Brazil where ice is considered a synonym for poor conservation, but it is just the opposite. The best way to keep fish fresh is scaly ice, which should be above and below the fish. The point of sale must respect this maximum and keep the fish between -2°C and 0°C. At home, the consumer must do the same to make the product last about 10 to 12 days.

- Frozen fish can be even better than fresh.

Truth. Fish is often caught or fished (removed from ponds and nurseries) at a great distance from the consumer center. Industrial freezing can delay the deterioration process and extend the product's expiration date to more than 1 year. For this, the slaughterhouses carry out freezing at temperatures below -25°C and then keep the fish at -15°C, a process that makes consumption safe and preserves the integrity of the meat's fibers.

- It's always better to defrost in the fridge.

Truth. Proper procedure helps keep the product with excellent texture and flavor. The best way to do this is to leave the fish overnight in the bottom of the refrigerator in a specific container.

- All industries add water to fish so that it weighs more.

Myth. Industries registered with the Federal Inspection Service (SIF) and importers are currently subject to strict inspection by health authorities and the number of frauds due to the exchange of species or excess ice incorporated has fallen in recent years, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.

- Fish stinks.

Myth. Any fish in conditions of consumption does not have a strong smell. In supermarkets and fishmongers that respect the legislation, there is no smell. In some points of sale, such as open markets, the water used to wash fish falls to the ground with residues that rot, generating the smell of ammonia and urea characteristic and unfairly attributed to all fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

- Fishing can be sustainable.

Truth. The debate on sustainability is now a reality in the fish chain. Extractive fishing is seen globally as a threat, but there are numerous examples that the activity can be carried out sustainably, as in the case of Alaska and Norway.

In both countries, scientific research and analysis guarantee the calculation of the amount of fish in the ocean and the government issues authorizations to capture a small portion of this potential in specific periods that do not affect the capacity of these species to renew. In any case, boats in Brazil are registered, tracked, inspected and fined if they do not follow environmental standards for the preservation of endangered species.

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