Overfishing reduced oyster abundance in Tabasco but aquaculture can help maintain this important industry. (Photo:L.Eustaquio, FIS)
Osyster farming: a promising activity for Tabasco
Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 19:10 (GMT + 9)
Oysters farmed in a controlled way have two advantages: they are larger and are sold at a value of up to 1000 per cent higher than the rest, mainly because they can be marketed in the shell or once shucked. This was stated by the Fisheries sub-head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Sagarpa), Abel Palacios Posada.
Currently, Tabasco is the main oyster producer in the country with an annual production of approximately 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes.
However, overfishing has caused a population decline of this mollusc, a situation that harms the economy and threatens producers’ job, Milenio reported.
The official said that 95 per cent of the oyster production of Tabasco is obtained in a traditional or natural way in the lagoon systems and the remaining 5 per cent is the product of the farming activity.
Palacios Posada said: "The product that is obtained naturally is sold at MXN 120 (USD 9.70) per thousand, which must be shucked and the person in charge of that work should be paid, it is a long process. In contrast, the farmed oyster can be sold per piece for between one and two pesos, that is to say, there is a difference of at least MXN 1,000 (USD 81.46) in 1,000 oyster farms."
The volume obtained through aquaculture is low, but it is so because the activity is just beginning to develop, highlighted the official.
"We are doing our best so that those people who are doing illegal fishing start oyster farming, which is much more profitable than the product that is extracted naturally," he said.
Today there are nine operating oyster farms in Tabasco: in Mecoacán lagoon, Paraíso, Barra Tupilco, Redonda Cocal Lake and Carmen-Pajonal-Machona, in Cárdenas.
"In the farming activity that we are starting, we can say we are the pioneers in the Gulf of Mexico as to farming, no other state is doing this activity," stressed out Palacios Posada.
In addition, he stated that the central government will allocate between MXN 5 million (USD 407,342) and MXN 6 million (USD 488,810) to farmed oyster producing organizations.
By Analia Murias