(L) Paulino Martinez Portela with Galician research group Acuigen. (Photo: xornal.usc.es)
Turbot sex determined to improve production
Tuesday, February 07, 2012, 03:50 (GMT + 9)
The Spanish government acknowledged the work done by the Galician research group Acuigen (Genetics for Aquaculture and Conservation of Biological Resources) with the National Advisory Board for Mariculture (JACUMAR) Xth Prize.
Paulino Martinez Portela, Acuigen group coordinator at the University of Santiago de Compostela, said that this research seeks to determine the sex of turbot to improve production.
"Females reach commercial size four or five months earlier than males, they need 25 per cent less time than males, which is quite common in marine species", pointed out researcher.
Specimens for sale are achieved "rather than in two years, in 20 months", he said. "It saves costs of maintenance of the farm, staff, etc.., which is a gain of around 20 per cent over current conditions", he continued.
According to Martinez Portela, Galicia was chosen to conduct the investigation because "it is where conditions are optimal for growing and there is greater production."
And he added: "The industry and government, both Spanish and Galician, support these studies, and that resulted in the patent that we registered a year ago, which can be used in the industry at a very cheap price. With a small sample of skin at any age we can determine the sex of the individual", Faro de Vigo newspaper informed.
With regard to the Galician companies more interested in this research, the expert mentioned Stolt Sea Farm, Pescanova and Alrogal.
Martinez Portela also highlighted that the best turbots are separated to reproduce and allowed to grow to three or four years, "then they remain as breeding specimens for eight to nine [years]. Meanwhile, the rest goes to production. "
On the future of the resource, he admitted that there is still much to do.
"Now, our goals are growth, sex and pathology but they may soon change. The turbot is now the most important species", he said.
However, he mentioned the sole as a species that will soon be also very important for Spanish aquaculture, but now its production is low.
On the other hand, aquaculture producers of turbot in Galicia started the year concerned about the demand restraint after ending 2011 with a "stable" production
"Our industry is no stranger to the crisis that affects all other economic sectors and the food. As with capture fisheries, consumption has been withdrawn, there is little demand and, consequently, lower prices to move production to the market", Fernando Otero, director of the Galician Association of Turbot Producers (AROGA), he remarked, according to La Opinion.
By Analia Murias