Rock shrimp, Rhynchocinetes typus. (Photo: UdeC)
Rock shrimp farming feasibility studied
Friday, July 06, 2012, 04:20 (GMT + 9)
A researcher at the Department of Oceanography of the University of Concepción (UdeC) studies the feasibility of promoting rock shrimp (Rhynchocinetes typus) farming in the Bío Bío region. The idea is to turn it into a new productive alternative for small fisheries and aquaculture businesses.
According to Professor Marco Antonio Retamal, the initiative -- which is part of a project of the Promotion Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (Fondef) -- aims to develop appropriate technology for the controlled and scheduled production of this resource, known as the 'big green eyed shrimp' in the region.
For some years, in the central and northern zones of Chile, it has been an economical possibility for small-scale fishermen, who trade the rock shrimp.
UdeC researcher chose this species because it is endemic, with high commercial value and a gastronomic potential.
Furthermore, the fact that this crustacean is near the coast contributes to the development of the project and to obtaining juvenile specimens under controlled conditions, in the laboratory, something that has never been achieved in the country.
The rock shrimp farming background is low or null, according to the expert.
The reproductive cycle is known only up to the larval stage, and post-larvae or juvenile specimens in captivity have never been obtained, Retamal noted.
The project includes several stages: capture of reproducers in Chome (Tumbes Peninsula), acclimation, mating, obtaining larvae and determining the appropriate density for stock viability.
After the collection of reproducers and their placement in laboratory aquariums, the first spawning and larvae were achieved.
In a research station built in Concepción Campus, female impregnation [fertilization] trials have been performed and eggs and larvae collection has been carried out to the last stage of development since January 2012.
A microalgae and small crustacean production system has also been installed there to feed the larvae.
So far a first group of larvae reaching the seven zoeal stages (that is to say, the seven larval stages of the species, in which individuals acquire cephalic, thoracic and abdominal appendages) has been obtained.
A second group reached the first larval stage, and in the laboratory there are females carrying eggs in different stages of embryonic development.
The experiments that have been performed indicate "that it is more likely to reach a density culture of 23.4 individuals per square meter."
Once the technology is perfected, the transfer process of rock shrimp maintenance protocols to fishermen will be started in Perone (Hualpén) cove.
"We hope that their transfer and the beginning of the subsequent trade can start this year, since [larvae] should reach market size or a minimum size of sexual maturity. The importance of providing juvenile specimens is that once this goal is achieved, all becomes a continuous process," said the researcher.
By Analia Murias