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Taiwan helps Paraguay restore native fish species population

Paraguay's pacu fish make comeback with Taiwanese aquaculture techniques


Pirapitinga. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has helped Paraguay’s pacu, a type of fish closely related to the piranha, make a comeback through the introduction of aquaculture techniques.

Chou Chun-hsien (周俊賢), the head of the Taiwan Technical Mission in Paraguay, said the primary reasons for the significant decrease in Paraguay's fishery yield include climate change, river pollution, construction of hydroelectric power plants, and overfishing, per CNA.

To address the declining population of pacu fish, the technical mission mass-produced the fish to enable Paraguay's aquaculture to be self-sufficient. This endeavor faced challenges, including the unfamiliarity of the fish’s characteristics and the high mortality rate in artificial reproduction.

Often, the team had to return to the rivers to find fish for breeding, which was not economically viable. They later introduced a patented automatic spawning and hatching system from Taiwan, which transformed artificial breeding into natural mating, greatly reducing mortality rates.

The team provided technical guidance to Paraguay's Ministry of Agriculture, university professors, and private enterprises for fish seed production. After years of effort, the shortage of pacu fish was alleviated.

Paraguay is Taiwan’s sole diplomatic ally in South America. The two countries established official ties in 1957.