Cages for organic sea bass farming. (Photo: Inter Aqua)
Sea bass organic farming started
Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 04:30 (GMT + 9)
A Spanish company plans to farm the first organic sea bass in waters off the Canary Islands, which are appropriate to raise fish all year, and to export the production to northern Europe.
The biologist Rafael Bernárdez works for Inter Aqua in the Canary Islands together with two Scottish colleagues: Douglas Smart and Hugh Drever, a scientific and a business executive, respectively.
The group has tentatively set up a cage on the coast off Arinaga and expects to achieve the first harvest in a year.
In 2011, 90 million tonnes of fish were caught in the world and 75 million tonnes were farmed. And the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that by 2016 aquaculture will reach the same figure as the captured number of specimens.
"In 1970 about 11 kilograms were consumed per person per year whereas in 2000 the amount consumed was 17 kg per person. In no time, aquaculture is going to compete with livestock, because, contrary to what it is said, it is more economical to raise a fish than a chicken," Bernárdez told the newspaper La Provincia.
With regard to good environmental characteristics of the Canary Islands, Bernárdez explained that "the sea bass begin to gestate its eggs below 18 degrees and if that temperature is not reached, they simply do not have them."
"In the Canaries, the temperature always ranges between 18 and 24 degrees, thereby the gestation period is skipped, which delays the process because once the eggs are put, they run out of meat," the biologist added.
The aim of the supporters of the initiative is not only to produce ration sea bass, but kilo sea bass, which they believe can be achieved in 18 months, 6 months earlier than anywhere else.
The idea is to stock fry every three months to ensure the production to customers, mainly in northern Europe.
"We intend to grow the first organic sea bass, which means less density in the cages, strict controls on the origin of the fry, organic feed, especially made with soybeans, with a certificate of sustainability, we have even thought about slaughter methods that reduce the specimen stress," Bernárdez noted.
By Analia Murias