Spain sees future in aquaculture


Chris Dove, contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain

Published on
June 9, 2010

Coinciding with World Environment Day, Spanish Minister for Marine Affairs Elena Espinosa presented the Environmental Profile of Spain 2009 report in Madrid on Monday. The report highlighted the strengths of the Spanish aquaculture sector, despite a drop in production in 2008.

“Aquaculture is maintained as a viable alternative to provide consumers with high fish protein quality, positioning itself as a complementary activity to fisheries, with high expectations for economic growth and job creation," the report stated.
Spanish aquaculture production declined by approximately 8 percent from 2007 to 2008, from 289,000 metric tons to 265,000 metric tons, and there’s been a small drop in the sector’s gross value added with factors such as escalating fuel prices affecting socio-economic sustainability.

Spain’s marine aquaculture production amounts to slightly more than 40,000 metric tons while inland aquaculture fell to nearly 25,000 metric tons in 2008. Rainbow trout production fell 14.2 percent (from 28,400 metric tons in 2007 to 24,300 metric tons in 2008); bream rose 4.4 percent (from 19,900 metric tons in 2007 to 20,700 metric tons in 2008); sea bass slipped 10.5 percent (from 10,000 metric tons in 2007 to 8,900 metric tons in 2008), while turbot increased 18.1 percent (from 6,000 metric tons in 2007 to 7,100 metric tons in 2008.

Aquaculture production in Andalucia has been given a boost with processing plant Esteros de Canela in Huelva set to achieve 50 percent of capacity this month. According to manager Angel Carro, the 3,700 square-meter-plant is currently at 30 percent capacity for fish filleting, shellfish purification and preservation of crustaceans, funded by a EUR 4 million (USD 4.8 million) investment.

Carro claims that the company isn’t aiming for 100 percent capacity in the short-term.

“At full strength, it will take more [finance] because the market is a bit loose now as a result of the [economic] crisis,” he said. Its facilities house up to 6,000 kilograms of live lobster, crab and shrimp, while its automated production line processes up to 12 tons of shellfish per hour and up to 25 tons of live fish per day. 
Its closed circuit recirculation and treatment systems are among the largest and most advanced in Spain, designed and installed by Innovaqua.

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