Red abalone, Haliotis rufscens. (Photo: UCN)
Red abalone farming boosted
Wednesday, September 05, 2012, 04:00 (GMT + 9)
Researchers at Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN) are working on a project designed to achieve the red or Californian abalone (Haliotis rufscens) suspended culture at sea.
The scientists participating in the initiative hope the red abalone becomes an important resource for aquaculture in the Region of Coquimbo and expect it will be added to those already captured at present, as the oyster.
The project, led by Joel Barraza, an Academic professional from the Department of Aquaculture, College of Marine Sciences of UCN, has been developed in collaboration with the Professional Association of Divers, Fishermen and Independent Artisanal Related Fields of Tongoy, which represents 200 workers, and has been backed by the company Invertec Ostimar SA.
This investigation was initiated in December 2011 and is now at the data collection stage, using a pilot culture system installed in Tongoy Bay.
The researchers are bound to record the growth and mortality rates of abalone juvenile specimens. The results obtained will serve to project its cultivation on a commercial scale, directed to small and medium-scale artisanal fishing firms, reported UCN.
As part of the project various circulation activities have been performed, such as fishermen’s community surveys and lectures at the Maritime Lyceum of Tongoy.
"We are really interested in the feasibility of this project, which will diversify aquaculture in the area through the cultivation of abalone, creating a new source of marine resources and further marketing and export expectations for fishermen," pointed out Julio Alfaro, representative of the Professional Association of Tongoy.
Barraza believes that this initiative is important because it represents a real alternative in order to diversify aquaculture in Tongoy.
In 2010, an amendment was introduced to the legal regulations authorizing the entry of abalone to sea of any size and sex to be farmed, thus improving the technical and economic feasibility of the resource production and facilitating the incorporation of small and medium-sized aquaculture industries in the Region of Coquimbo.
By Analia Murias