• The 1600 kilo of Sea Bass harvest marks a milestone for the program and the regional aquaculture, given it is the first one of this volume developed in Tongoy and 100% based on a recirculation system.
• During 2020, the initiative promoted by Corfo and led by Fundación Chile, has contemplated additional harvests of 13 tons, in addition to planting 30,000 juveniles in Iquique to continue with this pilot crop.
After two years cultivating and fattening, over 1,600 specimens of sea bass were successfully harvested at the Tongoy Aquaculture Center within the framework of the Programa Corvina (Sea Bass Program), promoted by Corfo and headed by Fundación Chile.
The harvest marks a milestone for both the program and regional aquaculture, as it is the first harvest with these volumes to be carried out in Tongoy and in addition it was 100% based on a recirculation system, outstanding for its high water reuse, less waste production, and also, because it can be connected to renewable energy sources.
For Cristóbal Cobo, Director of the Programa Corvina, “the collection through recirculation systems demonstrates the sturdiness of this species, also grown in open flow and cage ponds systems in Iquique.”
Cobo pointed out that the harvests began with small volumes that allowed carrying out tests for a few months in the market. “During this stage, 8 shipments of between 10 and 300 kilos were carried out. Then we were able to make a harvest of 1.5 tons, most of which was converted into frozen skinless and boneless filleted products to be marketed in the forthcoming months.”
Today the program is in its commercial phase, and carries several products through the channels of FrioSur; a company that in late 2019 announced a commitment of $ 400 million in contributions to this initiative, which seeks enhancing the capacity of breeders and genetic material for the availability of juveniles year round.
Eduardo Bruce, general manager of Friosur Alimentos del Mar, the company in charge of marketing the product, was very optimistic about the development in the market. “The reaction has been very positive. The customers who have received our sea basses value their quality, texture, and color. It is a very good product with great versatility when cooked. Additionally, another favorable element is being able to have a stable supply over time. Fished or captured sea basses are generally a seasonal resource, there being long periods of very low capture. Our sea bass, being a crop, allows a regular and programmed supply”.
During 2020, the program considers the harvest of another 3 tons of sea bass at Tongoy’s Aquaculture Center, also considering a strong production of juveniles and strengthening the breeding stock for subsequent sales.
At Iquique, where Universidad Arturo Prat and the Corporación para el Desarrollo de la UNAP, Cordunap (Corporation for the Development of UNAP) are supporting the program, Cristobal Cobo points out that they expect to harvest about 10 tons of sea bass, and seed about 30,000 juveniles units based on cage raft systems.