The cobia farm is set to finally open in March 2011. (Photo: NOAA)
Installion of innovative cobia marine farm to take place
Tuesday, January 11, 2011, 03:40 (GMT + 9)
With an investment of MXN 5 million (USD 1.6 million), the first offshore farm for breeding cobia (Rachycentron canadum) was put into operation in the village of Sisal, in southeastern Mexico.
The farm aims to produce between 130 and 140 tonnes of the product to be marketed initially in the local and national markets and then abroad, mainly in the United States, reported YucatánAhora.
The species, also known as the black salmon, is greatly appreciated due to both the quality and taste of its flesh, as well as by lovers of sport fishing.
The project will be funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Sagarpa) and will include technical support from researchers at the Multidisciplinary Unit for Teaching and Research (UMDI-Sisal) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
The farm has had the neccessary paperwork and permits from the authorities since 2008 but it will finally open in March 2011, when more than 60,000 larvae and juveniles of this species will be deposited in cages installed at 800 meters from the coast, off the port of Sisal.
For its part, the delegate from
Sagarpa, Gerardo Antonio Escaroz Soler, said that "With this project, mariculture will begin in Yucatan."
"Because of the cultural roots of network management, we never saw mariculture as an option, but now the vision is another," he said.
The President of the Administrative Council of the Cooperative, René Echeverría G. Cantón, said a few days ago that the first cobia cage was assessed for their resistance to weather conditions such as hurricanes and strong winds.
Once the fry are taken between March and April, they will be placed in the remaining five cages. Each has a diameter of 20 meters and a depth of six meters.
The feeding cycle of cobia is between 6 and 12 months and the specimens can reach up to 6 kg.
A company located in Dzilam de Bravo will be responsible for providing the fingerlings.
The cooperative consists of 10 people, from Sisal and Hunucmá, but it is expected to generate around 40 jobs in total.
At first, fishermen will not leave their main activity, and will be allowed to catch additional resources as they work at the farm.
In addition to harvesting their own produce, members of the cooperative may obtain additional benefits through the planting under the net of species such as sea cucumbers and conch, which can be exploited only by members of the cooperative.
By Silvina Corniola
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA/NMFS