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SPAIN - Feb 13, 2003
Asturias octopus farming trial shows promise

Experiments in octopus farming are showing "promising and interesting" results and point to commercial success, say biologists working on a project in Asturias.

The researchers succeeded in growing larvae in the laboratory and fattening the cephalopods in sea cages at the Centre for Fisheries Experimentation in El Arbeyal.

Researchers have been cultivating Octopus
larvae for the past two years. Photo:JSFA

The team has been cultivating Octopus vulgaris larvae for the past two years and has so far achieved a survival rate of up to four per cent. Until now, larvae have not survived at all in the laboratory, said José Francisco Carrasco, head of the Centre's aquaculture department.

They also achieved excellent results in fattening octopus in sea-submerged cages near the Tapia de Casariego zone, for which they used specimens weighing one kilogram, that were fed with species of low commercial value, Carrasco told Periódico de Guijón.

So far the weight of captive specimens has increased three and a half kilograms over a three month period, with an 80 per cent survival rate. These enclosures are like racks of PVC pipes where the species grows in protected areas on the Asturian coastline.

The two projects, for developing larvae cultivation and optimising the juvenile fattening process are part of a national plan for octopus farming that aims to design and test new larvae cultivation systems and finding suitable prey to allow for more widespread cultivation.

During these initial phases, Asturian scientists achieved the best results compared with similar projects in Galicia, Andalusia, Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia and Baleares.

The multi-regional working team will meet this week at the Asturias Centre for Fisheries Experimentation to discuss the results achieved to date and agree on projects for further development of this significant commercial species.

All of the communities participating in the commercial development of this species are funded and overseen by the National Advisory Council for Marine Cultivation (Jacumar).

Jacumar, which comes under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, includes officials from the General Fisheries Secretariat, aquaculture management organisations in each of the autonomous communities, and also aquaculture sector representatives. Its primary mission is to foster cooperation and coordinate aquaculture development between public administrations and the productive sector.

By Patricia Diácono
FIS Latino

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