The Continental Water Aquaculturists’ Cooperative (COOPECON), part of the Odebrecht Foundation’s PDCIS Program, closed 2015 with an important achievement: it became Bahia’s first cooperative in the aquaculture sector to sell fish oil for biodiesel production. Through the contract with Petrobras, COOPECON will join the Brazilian Federal Government’s National Biodiesel Production Program (PNPB).
The cooperative is currently working to obtain the Social Fuel Seal, a quality certificate that guarantees special benefits to producers. The partnership will make it possible to sell 130 tons of fish oil per year, since it is produced at the COOPECON Fish Processing Unit (UBP) using waste from tilapia filet, a fish farmed by the cooperative members in aquaculture pens.
“Besides the increase in our earnings, fish oil biodiesel will supply the Petrobras refineries,” explained Marcelo Costa, Executive Director of COOPECON. “We are contributing toward a more sustainable world,” he said. George Luís Mendes, Social Manager of Agricultural Production at Petrobras, goes even farther. “This spirit of cooperativism is one of the main goals at PNPB,” said Mendes. “We are very happy to help strengthen aquaculture in the region.”
Thanks to the National Biodiesel Production Program, some 70,000 Brazilian families supply raw materials for biodiesel manufacturing. In 2014, the initiative generated some R$ 3.2 billion for those benefitted.