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Nutritional improvement of the commercial production of marine aquaculture species through application of innovative biotechniques

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  • Political Science


Marine aquaculture, particularly the salmon farming industry, has expanded very fast in Chile. Currently the country ranks second among the world leading salmon producers. However, there is a growing concern for the diversification of aquaculture activities. Examples are the cultures of flatfishes, either the introduced turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) or the native flounder species Paralichthys microps and P. adspersus, along with the native scallop, Argopecten purpuratus. Although both turbot and scallop farming have had a successful transition from pilot to industrial scale, dependable availability of larvae/seed at cost-effective prices is, unlike the situation in the salmon farming industry, still one of the most critical factors in the commercial production of these species. This paper reports collaborative research activities carried out by European and Chilean partners with the aim of improving the experimental and commercial larviculture of marine species and with aquaculture interest in Chile. Within the framework of the project, mass culture facilities for live feeds as well as for experimental rearing of mollusc and fish larvae were set up. Emulsions for enrichment of live food (rotifers, Artemia ) rich in unsaturated fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, were produced and assayed to determine fatty acid requirements in turbot larvae. Emulsions were also used as lipid supplements to live algae in scallop hatchery culture. A genetical-phenotypical characterization of natural Artemia sources was performed in order to select eventually suitable populations that can optimize the production of live feeds. The project resulted in a concerted effort between European and Chilean universities, the local artisanal sector through Fundacion Chinquihue, governmental research institutes (IFOP, Putemun) and the private sector (Cultivos Marinos Internacionales, Caldera; Granjamar, Tongoy; Fundación Chile). Useful know-how was developed/transferred and results with both a basic and commercial impact were produced and disseminated to the academic, artisanal and business communities. A workshop on fish and mollusc larviculture further extended this concertated effort and allowed evaluation of the state of the art in the field as well as formulating recommendations for the improvement of aquaculture of marine fish and mollusc both in Chile and Latin America generally.

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