The farming of digging Bivalve mollusks in Chile seeks to be a productive alternative that benefits both coastal communities engaged in traditional fishing, as well as the national canning industry, which is currently going through supply problems following the depletion of natural banks. Fundación Chile strengthens this measure through the development of strict and high technologies that can be adapted to different production scales, trying to simplify production processes and reducing the financial risks associated with the farming. This is how the private nonprofit institution undertook two initiatives aimed at promoting seed production for clams and razor clams.
The Razor Clam Project generated a technology of mass production of seeds of one millimeter, in order to stimulate the development of commercial farming, mainly in the areas of management by artisanal fishermen from the Norte Chico area. The project was funded by Fondef and with the participation of the company Cultivos Marinos Tongoy SA and the Asociación Gremial de Buzos, Pescadores y Ramos Similares Independientes Artesanales de Tongoy (Tongoy’s Trade Union Association of Divers, Fishermen and Similar Independent Areas).
Farming digger bivalve mollusks in Chile seeks to be a productive alternative that benefits both coastal communities engaged in traditional fishing, and the national canning industry.
Fundación Chile’s Head of Aquaculture Project, Carlos Estrada, explained that “for Fundación Chile the development of these initiatives has a high economic and social importance, considering that the development of APE (Small Scale Aquaculture) is an important tool of aquaculture diversification and new economic opportunities for coastal communities and artisanal fishermen.”
Regarding seed farming of knife clams in the hatchery of Fundación Chile in Tongoy, R+D tests were conducted, trying different strategies of farming and handling, where they managed to produce for the first time seeds of 10-15 millimeters. Fundación Chile, as well, applied for an extension of the project, aiming to deepen into methodological issues in the pre-seed and seed phases, as to consolidate a mass production technology of this species.
Meanwhile, the development of clam culture was conducted at Fundación Chile’s Experimental Station hatchery located in Quillaipe. Seeding was done in areas handled by artisanal fishermen at Maillen Island and Tenglo Island in Puerto Montt, counting with the active participation of the company Pesquera Transantartic, which focuses on the culture as a mechanism to address difficulties in the supply of raw material. The venture was funded by the FIC of the Los Lagos Region, and was attended by the Union of Fishermen of Caleta Anahuac and STI, Artisan Fishermen, and Otras Actividades del Mar Isla Tenglo La Capilla.
The Head of Development of Fundación Chile’s Estación Quillaipe, Juan Carlos Sanchez, said that “due to the progress we have made in the controlled clam seed production, we are now seriously addressing the cultivation of digging bivalve mollusks, with the conviction that it represents a great opportunity for diversification of the national aquaculture. We propose addressing the farming of these species associatively, where both the artisanal fisheries sector as the companies may obtain benefits. This has motivated us to present two projects to the FIC of the Region of Los Lagos, to advancing further.”