Veta la Palma products reach U.S. market


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 9, 2010

Seafood products raised at the Veta la Palma Estate — a biodynamic, multispecies culture system — are now being distributed to restaurants in the United States.

Browne Trading Co. in Portland, Maine, which Veta la Palma selected as its exclusive U.S. distributor, is marketing sea bass (lubina or loup de mer), meagre (corvina) and grey mullet raised at the unique, 27,000-acre farm in Spain. At the farm, the fish are born at a hatchery but live and grow in the ecosystem amongst other species, including thousands of wild birds that have migrated to the area.

“Veta la Palma’s food chain starts with simple microalgaes, produced naturally by the sun and waters. Mysis shrimp thrive on the algae, larger camarones shrimp feed on the mysis, the fish feed on the camarones, and flamingos and other rare birds feed on the fish. Humans in turn harvest the fish for haute cuisine,” said Rod Browne Mitchell, president of Browne Trading, who called the Veta la Palma practices “sustainability plus.”

“The entirety of the process, coupled with thriving aquatic plants, effectively filters and cleans the river waters, so that the water that runs back to sea is in fact cleaner than when it flowed into the farm. The farmers at Veta la Palma quantify the whole process as ‘fish farming that is extensive, not intensive,’” continued Mitchell.

Daurade (sea bream) and sole will soon be introduced to the estate, which was once a natural wetland that was drained to provide grazing for cattle.

Situated between the Guadiamar and Guadalquivir Rivers in the Seville region of Spain about 10 miles upriver from the Atlantic, the estate employs a reverse pumping and channeling system to return the lands back to a marshland habitat. The area has also become one of the largest bird refuges in Europe, attracting almost 250 species of birds annually. Fish lost to birds — up to 20 percent of stocks annually — are viewed as a sign that the entire ecosystem is balanced and thriving.

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