Economic analysis of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) cage culture in large- and small-scale production systems in Brazil

Abstract

Economic feasibility studies regarding aquaculture systems are relatively scarce, but they are important to potential investors and for the allocation of resources for research and technological development. This study evaluated the economic viability of cobia cage culture from the actual investment and operational costs of a large-scale operation off Recife, northeastern Brazil (industrial system; IS), and a family-run farm located in a near-shore area of Rio de Janeiro (familiar system; FS). The IS had twenty-four 1607 m3 floating cages deployed at a depth of 24 m, while the FS had six 75 m3 wooden cages installed in a sheltered 6- to 7-m-deep area. Analyses of profitability (gross revenue, operational profit, cost price and break-even production) and investment (net present value—NPV; and payback time) were performed. An analysis of sensitivity was also carried out. The IS required an initial investment of approximately US$ 1.5 million dollars and was more sensitive to FCR, selling price and productivity fluctuations than the FS. The FS required a relatively small initial investment (US$ 16,000 dollars), which makes it more flexible to variations in production parameters and market fluctuations. The NPV was positive for both systems, and the payback times were estimated to be 3.88 years for the IS and 2.07 years for the FS. Therefore, given the assumptions of this study, cage culture of cobia in Brazil may be considered economically feasible in offshore production systems and in near-shore, FSs. Governmental support through decreased import taxes is recommended as a way to accelerate the early development of the cage culture of marine fish in Brazil.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture—MPA and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development—CNPq (559.759/2009-6 and 559.741/2009-0). Thanks to the MPA for the financial resources that allowed the operation of the offshore farm. T.R.Q. Bezerra acknowledges a Ph.D. scholarship from Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—CAPES (Edital Ciências do Mar), and A.N. Rombenso from CNPq/Science without Borders (238.105/2012-1). R.O. Cavalli is a research fellow of CNPq (308.139/2012-7).

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Correspondence to Ronaldo O. Cavalli.

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de Bezerra, T.R.Q., Domingues, E.C., Maia Filho, L.F.A. et al. Economic analysis of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) cage culture in large- and small-scale production systems in Brazil. Aquacult Int 24, 609–622 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10499-015-9951-2

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Keywords

  • Brazil
  • Cobia
  • Economy
  • Feasibility
  • Investment
  • Marine fish farming
  • Production costs