Aquaculture 176 Ž1999.


Diversification of flatfish culture in Chile
Adofo Alvial ) , Juan Manrıquez
Department of Marine Resources, Fundacion
´ Chile, P.O. Box 773, Santiago, Chile

In 1982, Fundacion
´ Chile ŽFCH. initiated systematic efforts to introduce flatfish into Chile and
to adapt flatfish rearing technologies starting with turbot Ž Scophthalmus maximus ., given its
interesting market and technical features. The technology transfer and adaptation process included
three phases: Experimental, Pilot and Full Commercial scale using FCH’s modus operandi, which
included progressive transfer and the involvement of private investors in the new development.
Presently, there are two hatcheries operating in the central–northern region of Chile, one located
in Tongoy, Region IV Ž308S. and one located in Las Cruces, Region V Ž338S., and two
on-growing centers, one located in Tongoy and one located in Los Molles, Region V Ž328S.. This
initial turbot project generated the first flatfish production facilities operating in the Southern
Hemisphere and also established the basis for diversifying Chilean aquaculture, which until then
was mainly concentrated on salmon farming. Recently, FCH has initiated a program to optimize
and diversify flatfish rearing in the country by adding new species, regions and technologies to
Chilean aquaculture. The new program seeks to develop andror transfer the technology for
Chilean flounder Ž Paralichthys adspersus., hirame Ž Paralichthys oliÕaceus . and Atlantic halibut
Ž Hippoglossus hippoglossus. rearing in different regions of the country. The Universities Arturo
Prat ŽIquique., Nacional Andres
´ Bello ŽSantiago. and Magallanes ŽPunta Arenas., as well as a
number of privately owned companies, that are supporting different aspects of the initiative, are
also participating in the program. The Chilean flounder technology is in an experimental phase as
a result of efforts developed by FCH and by the Universidad Catolica
del Norte since the mid-80s.
These efforts will provide the technical platform for the new program. The Chilean flounder
hatchery will be located in Tongoy and the on-growing unit in Quintay, Region V Ž338S.. The
hirame and halibut rearing developments will be essentially based on foreign experiences as well
as on the know-how, pilot facilities and trained teams produced from FCH’s turbot project. The
hirame hatchery will be located in Tongoy and the on-growing unit in Iquique, Region I Ž208S..
The halibut hatchery and on-growing center will be located in Punta Arenas, Region XII Ž538S..
The present program aims to carry out and evaluate improvements in turbot rearing and new


Corresponding author. Tel.: q56-2-2400451; Fax: q56-2-2419389; E-mail:

0044-8486r99r$ - see front matter q 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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bringing into the country not only a new aquaculture species but also. FCH laid the foundations for the Chilean Salmon Producers’ Association and for a quality certification system that ensures product quality while increasing the emerging industry’s image and competitiveness. All rights reserved. First. Within a short time. FCH was also aware that aquaculture in Chile had to increase the scope of these technologies. which was heavily supported at that time by other national and international institutions. 1993. Third. The program should produce a complete technical and economic study for flatfish rearing in Chile. J. rearing project was introduced in 1982. AlÕial. Turbot.. Alvial.. helped to build FCH’s technology transfer activities in aquaculture. Chilean commercial aquaculture took off as a result of excellent market opportunities that enabled Chile to use and develop a framework and resources to trigger a booming salmon industry in the country ŽAlvial.V. which accounts for 25% of the country’s gross product and 15% of the jobs in the entire fishery and aquaculture sector.b. Fundacion ´ Chile ŽFCH. abalone and particularly. Manrıquezr Aquaculture 176 (1999) 65–73 ´ flatfish developments under Chilean conditions as well as to explore market opportunities for the project’s species. Chilean flounder.b. Turbot project The turbot Ž Scophthalmus maximus . products and markets if the country really wanted to have a permanent and relevant presence in the World Aquaculture Club. . It focused on species with high market potential and reasonably uncomplicated rearing technologies. with a total contribution of about 2% in terms of volume. played a crucial part in this process in three principal areas. Second. FCH promoted intensive aquaculture instead of salmon ranching. Chile 1. 1991a. Consequently. a new technological concept for fish rearing ŽMunita.. Environmental and economic uncertainties were basic considerations for this decision. 2. Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout were developed in Chile’s southern canals zone making it the world’s second biggest producer of farmed salmon in less than 15 years.66 A. 1994a. q 1999 Elsevier Science B. Introduction In the early 80s. Chile became one of the biggest fish-producing countries in the world with respect to aquaculture. Atlantic halibut. Hirame. the turbot project. Aside from these contributions. Oysters. 1992. FCH became the instrument for a very dynamic technology transfer process that allowed pioneering companies to begin operations with the adequate know-how. Pacific salmon. and most importantly. Keywords: Flatfish. which in many ways have provided a conceptual model for other areas in FCH ŽAquanoticias Internacional. FCH began looking for alternatives for opening up aquaculture activities in regions other than the 10th and 11th regions.

. Pilot phase Ž3. . Chilean managers and technicians were trained. J. ˜ Spain and FCH. Experimental phase Ž2. the pilot scale stage facility was developed. some management difficulties at the beginning produced a gap in the on-growing production which affected the predefined marketing strategy. AlÕial. In these operations. difficulties emerged that delayed the export progress of the project in Chile. the pilot on-growing unit was successfully producing and exporting turbot although on a limited scale. However. a group of Chilean private investors joined the emerging business along with FCH and very rapidly installed modern facilities with technical assistance from Mannin Seafarms. Insuina. consultant. . However.. Revised Technical Conditions Manuals for Equipment and Installations as well as Economic Evaluations were the starting point for the new project. Manrıquezr Aquaculture 176 (1999) 65–73 ´ 67 The technology transfer and adaptation process included three phases: Ž1. 1988–1989. however. led to caution by potential new investors in Chile who decided to wait for more clear and consistent market signals irrespective of the business profitability. Fortunately. the pilot unit could supply the necessary fish and provide technical assistance to solve the problem. in 1992. technical information and manuals were prepared in accordance with the Chilean situation and the pilot unit project was fully developed so FCH was able to start operating with imported eggs in 1990. This center was installed in Tongoy following the guidelines provided by British consultants from Mannin Seafarms. . Additionally. This phase was developed with British assistance ŽRichard Prickett. which also served as a training center and is currently a research and development station. Currently.In the second place. In fact. where the adaptability of different fish stages was tested and basic hatchery and on-growing management was practiced together with transportation methods. In just 1 year. At the end of this experimental stage 2 tons of 2 kg fish were produced and turbot rearing was shown to be technically feasible and economically promising.Finally. Meanwhile. David Calvert ŽScotland.In the first place. implementation of a full-scale hatchery was more complete than originally expected. full-scale hatchery and full-scale on-growing were initiated in the country’s central zone where there are good environmental conditions. the pilot unit yielded very good hatchery and on-growing results and a group of technicians was trained intensively with support from Mannin and consultant. Full commercial scale phase 1982–1985 1988–1991 1992–present The experimental phase was developed in Cultimar. Chilean technicians were trained in the operation’s principal aspects. About 3 years later. the significant decrease in turbot prices in Europe Žprincipally Spain. . aspects that can considerably reduce production costs such as water reuse and complementary semi-intensive larvae culture based on copepods which will increase a good pigmentation. Tongoy Ž308S. Within 2 years. turbot is technically consolidated in Chile and is moving into higher production scales. broodstock was built up using imported fish from various locations. are being optimized..A.

The Seafood Resources Chile ŽSRC. There are two on-growing units also in Chile’s central–northern region. Region IV Ž308S.2. The Granjamar on-growing facility located in Tongoy. J. Region IV Ž308S... . with the capacity to produce 150.2.1. Principal products from these on-growing units are baby turbot Žaround 0. between 1989 and 1997. and there is a small fraction going directly to Latin America. basically to Europe and the USA. which presently produces around 300 tonsryear. to explore and eventually invest in turbot operations. ŽB. ŽB..68 A.5 kg.. ŽA. The Granjamar Hatchery. hatcheries.000 juvenilesryear.000 6–8 g juvenilesryear in 3 months. There are two hatcheries operating in Chile’s central–northern region. There is increasing interest among Chilean investors. Enclosed pilot ŽGranjamar.. Pilot Unit. located in Las Cruces.5 kg. frozen fillets. 1. Production of turbot in Chile. whole frozen. principally in the aquaculture and fishery sectors as well as in neighboring countries. ŽA. 1. Manrıquezr Aquaculture 176 (1999) 65–73 ´ The following is a summary of the units presently operating ŽFig. These are sold principally as whole fresh. regular 1. Region V Ž328S. a full commercial-scale unit.5–2. capacity is around 40 tonsryear. and commercial ŽTecnofish. ŽB. ŽA. located in Tongoy. Fig. and pilot ŽGranjamar.000 juvenilesryear.. formerly the pilot hatchery. The Tecnofish Hatchery.. fish and premium over 2. with the capacity to produce 500. They employ combined intensive with semi-intensive larvae rearing systems. At present.5 kg fish.. the units produce around 450. on-growing facility. AlÕial. with no more than 10% abnormal fish Žmalformed plus unpigmented. Japan and the domestic market. located in Los Molles.1. and commercial on-growing ŽSRC. It is increasing its production capacity to around 500 tonsryear. a full commercial unit. Region V Ž338S.

.. where the first broodstock for both species has been established. View of semi-intensive culture system of turbot larvae with copepods in Los Molles Ž328S. and University Andres ´ Bello in Quintay Ž338S.A. J. 4.. for Chilean flounder ŽFig. Both units are Fig. AlÕial..000 goal considered in the project. 6. The program also aims to develop andror adapt the culture technology for Chilean flounder Ž Paralichthys adspersus . hirame Ž Paralichthys oliÕaceus..000 seeks to improve turbot rearing through the use of copepods in semi-intensive larvae rearing and the development of water recirculation in on-growing units ŽFigs. in different regions of the country. The juveniles of these species are sent to pilot on-growing centers operated in agreement with the University Arturo Prat in Iquique Ž208S. Flatfish project This initial turbot project generated the first flatfish production facilities operating in the Southern Hemisphere and also established the conditions to continue the Chilean aquaculture diversification process. for hirame ŽFig. As a consequence of this successful process and taking advantage of its experience. earlier than planned. facilities and trained personnel.. The new development Program of around US$2.000 juveniles. The hirame broodstock spawned in 1998. The first production of Chilean flounder came to about 20. Fundacion ´ has initiated a program to optimize and diversify flatfish rearing in the country by adding new species.. 1994. which far exceeded the 4. Manrıquezr Aquaculture 176 (1999) 65–73 ´ 69 3. Hirame and Chilean flounder juvenile production are being developed in the Fundacion’s ´ Tongoy R & D center ŽFig. 2 and 3. 2. regions and technologies to Chilean aquaculture ŽSilva et al..000 juveniles.000. and Atlantic halibut Ž Hippoglossus hippoglossus. 5. and the first production came to about 15.

.70 A. The basic know-how for these developments is based on FCH’s experience and on Ryan Murashige’s ŽHawaiian consultant. hirame and Chilean flounder hatchery. are the potential markets for these species in the near future. Fig. 4.. Asian countries. Manrıquezr Aquaculture 176 (1999) 65–73 ´ Fig. A trial to rear Chilean flounder in sea cages is also considered in the project.. and in particular Japan. View of Granjamar’s turbot. specific support in hirame. operating and they propose to obtain rearing technologies for both species under Chilean conditions. Tongoy Ž308S. 3. AlÕial. View of recirculation system of turbot on-growing unit in Tongoy Ž308S. J.

Canada ŽSean Raymond. . ŽFig. AlÕial. 6. Region XII Ž538S. J. 5. The Atlantic halibut situation is a little bit different.. 7. Manrıquezr Aquaculture 176 (1999) 65–73 ´ 71 Fig. Both hatchery and on-growing pilot units have been installed in agreement with the University of Magallanes in Punta Arenas. In this case. View of Chilean flounder on-growing unit in Quintay Ž338S.. the project received initial technical support from Mannin Seafarms and then from R & R Finfish Development. View of hirame on-growing unit in Iquique Ž208S. The objective is to transfer and adapt halibut technology...A. Fig.

the project is developing five pilot units in the country involving 20 national researchers and technicians and more than 20 workers. three Universities and Fundacion ´ Chile. This optimization and diversification project involves twelve private companies interested in flatfish rearing. Conclusions 1. 1. And at present a broodstock unit is being established satisfactorily in Punta Arenas while the pilot facility is being built. FCH expects that this integrated effort will produce the following. Chile has demonstrated that the technology of turbot culture has been successfully transferred and adapted. 7. After 8 years of systematic and sustained development.fundch. 4. a full-team of specialists is in charge of market research and economic evaluation for the different initiatives considered in the project. The potential for this species in Chile’s Austral Zone is great given the environmental characteristics of the more than 1000 km of coastal area. View of Atlantic halibut farm in Punta Arenas Ž538S. Aside from all these technical aspects of the program.72 A. technology transfer institutions and universities which contribute to an effective and efficient process for obtaining new aquaculture developments. With these which acts as coordinator. Manrıquezr Aquaculture 176 (1999) 65–73 ´ Fig. . 3. with documented technologies. 2. Also. Active and focused cooperation between privately owned companies. the national agency FONDEF. J. Project reports are prepared and appear on FCH’s Internet pages Žwww.. AlÕial. Skilled and trained managers and technicians able to administer the commercial and technical aspects of the new ventures. Feasible new aquaculture business opportunities for different regions of the country. business outlooks will be prepared at the end of the project for all the species..

AlÕial. A. Aquaculture in Chilean enclosed coastal seas. Management and prospects. 789–792. Turbot Culture: Problems and Prospects.. 1991a. P. Henrıquez.. Belgium. Silva. In: Lavens. European Aquaculture Society. Problems occurring during this development emphasize the need to give more importance in the future to market evaluations and the development of market strategies to anticipate changes and trends that can directly affect the expectations for this kind of project. Situation and potential of turbot farming in Chile. Munita. Gent.. 1994. References Alvial.. 2. A. 28–35. Marine Pollution Bulletin 23. focused on species with high economic value and introducing new regions of Chile to aquaculture. Manrıquezr Aquaculture 176 (1999) 65–73 ´ 73 producing at present 450.. C. FONDEF Project D96i1068 finances this work. From research to pilot scale. R. J. Expopesca ’92. C. Much more than the culture of two species.. Aquanoticias Internacional.. . Special Publication No. Aquanoticias Internacional 22. EMEC’S 90. 22. 3. A. Turbot y abalon. 1991b.A. Management and prospects. 1994b.. p. The turbot technology initially introduced has been a strong diversification factor allowing new flatfish rearing developments in the country.. 1993. Despegue del cultivo de turbot en Chile ŽTurbot culture takes off in Chile. C. 216. Alvial. Fundacion ´ Chile. Aquanoticias Internacional 22. Munita.. Alvial. 42–51. Remmerswaal. Special Edition. 1994a. 1992. Desafıo ´ ´ del lenguado: de cultivo experimental pasar a etapa piloto ŽChallenging Chilean flounder. A. Alvial.. Mucho mas ´ que el cultivo de dos especies ŽTurbot and abalone... Aquanoticias Internacional 16.. 56 pp. ŽEds. Acknowledgements We would like to thank the turbot companies for providing their production statistics and also Carla Wood for the English revision. 34–40.000 juvenilesryear and 450 tonsryear with expansion plans under development. A. Aquaculture in Chilean enclosed coastal seas.