Valencia’s aquaculture production on the rise

By

Chris Dove, SeafoodSource.com contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain

Published on
October 24, 2011

Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, is becoming a national hotbed of aquaculture production, with output up 26.5 percent from last year at more than 9,278 metric tons of seafood valued at EUR 38 million (USD 53 million).

Gilthead bream led production at 6,000 metric tons valued at EUR 23.7 million (USD 33 million) in 2010. Sea bass followed at 2,098 metric tons worth EUR 10.6 million (USD 14.8 million), up 66 percent from 2009. Next was white sea bass at 789 metric tons worth EUR 1.9 million (USD 2.6 million).

In 2010, the region’s aquaculture enterprises also raised 199 metric tons of eel and clóchina (black mussel) worth EUR 1.9 and 1.7 million, respectively, together with 4 metric tons of oysters.

In its Fisheries Master Plan 2008-2013, the regional Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Water aims to create new economic opportunities along Valencia’s coast, providing employment, capitalizing on local resources and encouraging investment. Its EUR 167,000 (USD 232,420) aquaculture subsidies generated EUR 450,000 (USD 626,280) in investments.

Valencia authorities also granted cultivator DeltiMussel a license to produce curly oysters for sale beginning in mid-December. Using the Crassostreagigas species cultivated in France, DeltiMussel manager César Gómez selected Valencia’s waters for the special taste and texture of its locally grown mussels.

DeltiMussel has more than 40,000 square meters of installations between the Bays of Alfacs and Fangar in Ebro Delta Natural Park, the second most important wetland on the Iberian Peninsula. With mussel output of 25 metric tons annually, DeltiMussel has expanded its San Mateo nursery in Valencia port with capacity to grow 16.2 metric tons of curly oysters annually.

An expected monthly production of 2,000 to 5,000 dozen oysters will be sold through hotel channels, to individuals and direct to national and international markets.

“We’re going to use the same gigas oysters grown in France, which have caché with restaurants and have a lot of meat,” said Gómez. “We use the best seeds and best cultivation method to make it available all year round thanks to our significant investment in seeds, time commitment and people.”

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