Latin American & Caribbean Aquaculture 2023

April 18 - 21, 2023

Panama City, Panama


Daniel Benetti


University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, U.S.A.



Full cycle aquaculture technology of several commercially important species of marine fish has become or is quickly becoming available. Hatcheries are now capable of spawning broodstock and producing juveniles of species such as cobia (Rachycentron canadum), Hamachi /  kampachi (Seriola rivoliana, S. lalandi / S. dorsalis), pompanos (Trachinotus carolinus), snappers (Lutjanus guttatus, L. peru and L. campechanus), yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus), totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis), olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) – among others. Steady supply of high-quality juveniles of certain species is still limited, but it is unlikely that this will remain a bottleneck for industry expansion. Technology is ahead of the industry. For example, the limitations for expanding commercial growout operations for species such as the olive flounder, red snapper and yellowtail snapper are mainly due to a lack of interest in investing in new facilities for raising them.

Nursery and growout technologies are readily available. Open ocean / offshore aquaculture, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and flow-through in-line raceways are, in our view, the most viable options. Large scale production required to achieve commercial viability will require advanced technologies demanding high levels of investment and long-term commitment. Hence, fish produced in these systems must be sold at high prices to compensate the high capital and operating costs required, limiting their demand in a highly competitive white fish market.

Commercial viability has been achieved in Europe and Asia long ago. Yet, with a few exceptions, it remains elusive in the Americas and the Caribbean – where the industry is still in its infancy. Infrastructure and logistics are in place, as well as market demand. Technology continues to expand rapidly. Granted, challenges such as optimizing genetics, nutrition, and diseases control must be tackled to secure commercial viability. Automation is progressing fast but still needs refinement. Machine learning and artificial intelligence tools are becoming available and being incorporated to perfect systems automation. The development of practical, specialized feeds for all developmental stages of species such as cobia, snappers and Seriola remains a challenge. FCRs are still very high, limiting performance and increasing production costs. 

We present and discuss these challenges and how the industry is collectively working with researchers to address and resolve issues limiting the expansion of the industry. Nonetheless, commercial production has become or is becoming a reality.