Red octopus, Enteroctopus megalocyathus. (Photo: Union Argentina de Pescadores Artesanales)
First Patagonian red octopus juvenile specimens obtained at laboratory
Friday, March 01, 2013, 04:00 (GMT + 9)
In order to diversify aquaculture through cephalopods farming, the Institute of Aquaculture of Universidad Austral de Chile carried out a scientific-technological project for the sustainable production of Patagonian red octopus (Enteroctopus megalocyathus) juvenile specimens.
After three years working in the Marine Invertebrate Hatchery of the Aquaculture Institute of Universidad Austral de Chile, located in Puerto Montt (HIM-UACh), the first cephalopod juveniles were born.
Chile has two traditional octopus species of high commercially valued octopus, which are the Octopus mimus and the Enteroctopus megalocyathus. The latter, the Patagonian red octopus, is a cold water species that is rapidly growing in the Chilean Patagonia.
Dr. Iker Uriarte, head of research, pointed out that the cephalopod is harvested when it reaches between 2 and 4 kg and "in the medium term it will be able to be produced through economically and environmentally sustainable farming methods," Aqua reported.
Uriarte explained the octopus sustainable production requires a high effort as to R&D&I to produce abundant controlled farmed juvenile specimens.
The researcher added that in 2012 the first descriptions of the innate immune system of the species were obtained, developed in conjunction with Dr. Rodolfo Amthauer of the Institute of Biochemistry and the scientists Alex Romero and Ricardo Enríquez of the UACh Institute of Animal Pathology.
With this knowledge platform, in December 2012 it was possible to obtain juveniles under laboratory conditions for the first time for the species. This was achieved after enhancing breeders, hatching eggs and farming planktonic paralarvae and benthic juveniles.
"The specimens that have now reached 1 gram and measure 4.5 cm will be the first ones to provide information on the time required to get from one newly settled juvenile up to a 50 gram specimen that may enter the fattening farming phase," said Dr. Uriarte.
This research was funded by Fondef D09 I of 1153, which the University was allocated in the XVIII Research and Development Contest 2010.
The project was led by a larviculture and nutrition team joined by Dr. Iker Uriarte, Ana Farías and Jorge Hernández, and engineers in aquaculture, Viviana Espinoza and Jessica Dörner.
The investigation also included the participation of international scientists, such as Dr. Carlos Rosas of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, an expert in farming the Octopus maya.
Now, Uriarte just been allocated the project Fondecyt No. 1131094, where it is intended to study the ecophysiological aspects regulating the embryonic paralarvario growth and development and that of the early juveniles of this species that is common in the southern area of South America, and that has great economic importance both for Chile and for Argentina.
By Silvina Corniola