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Cages for fish fattening. (Photo: Junta de Andaluicía)

'Conjunctural factors' reduced Andalusian aquaculture production in 2017

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Thursday, July 12, 2018, 02:40 (GMT + 9)

The production of the aquaculture sector of Andalusia fell in 2017, with respect to the previous year, due to circumstantial reasons, reported the Undersecretariat of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of the Autonomous Government of Andalusia.

According to this agency, the decrease was mainly due to the decline in seabass production, given that one of the largest companies did not have production as a result of the transfer of its facilities to another area of ​​the Andalusian coast. Mollusk production also decreased due to closures on account of the presence of biotoxins.

The Andalusian aquaculture industry commercialized 6,873 tonnes of products obtained in the fattening phase in 2017, which generated EUR 53.6 million, compared to 9,756 tonnes per EUR 63.5 million in 2016. What is added to this is 44.84 million units produced in the hatchery and nursery phases (fry/seeds), products that were sold almost in their entirety and generated EUR 6.55 million.

The fattening to commercial size is the most important activity of the Andalusian marine aquaculture, which during the year 2017 concentrated in fish production 83.57 per cent of the total tonnage traded and 94 per cent of the economic value. In second place is the production of mollusks, with a participation in volume of 13.55 per cent, and that of crustaceans, with 2.77 per cent.

Algae accounts for 0.1 per cent of tonnage but 3 per cent of regional aquaculture billings.

The group of the annelids contributed a very reduced production, of 0.03 per cent, and an economic value of 0.04 per cent.

Analyzing the aquaculture production by groups of species, for fattening, it is observed that the production of farmed fish reached 5,744 tonnes. Seabass production is highlighted (60 per cent), followed by bream (16 per cent), bluefin tuna (13 per cent) and sole (9 per cent), which together accounted for 98 per cent of the total seafood production.

The culture of mollusks, with 931 tonnes, is represented mostly by mussels, with a contribution of 97 per cent. This product is followed by the oyster with 2 per cent and the clam with 1.2 per cent of the total number of mollusks.

Among the crustaceans, whose production was 191 tonnes, the farmed shrimp is highlighted as it accounts for 99 per cent of the produced volume. This species is proving very interesting from the commercial point of view, since it is a product of great acceptance throughout the Andalusian coast. It is produced with totally extensive systems in estuarine and marsh areas, by companies that are concentrated mainly in the South Atlantic region. The Japanese shrimp or tiger represents 1 per cent of the production volume and is obtained by intensive fattening systems.

As for algae production, last year it reached 7.11 tonnes, mainly in microalgae production (96 per cent), and the rest corresponds to macroalgae crops. The industrial production of microalgae is mainly formed by the species Nannochloropsis gaditana, Tetraselmis chuii and Phaeodactylum tricornutum, the former being the one that accounts for most of the production.

As for the annelids group, 240 kg of bloodworm (Marphysa sanguinea) were produced last year, with a good average price.

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