Fish Farm Restarts

Owing to the crisis, the Salobreña and Carchuna pisifactorias (fish farms) have slowly shut down, at first not breeding any more fish and just raising the ones already in the system, and when that concluded, by shutting down the pens as well. They ceased to exist within a year of each other; 2010 & 2011. Now a new company has stepped in to put both farms back into action.

So how does this new company believe it can make the two installations work, when the previous owners; Joaquín Martín Montero (Salobreña) and José Julián Romero (Carchuna) couldn’t? Good question. Read on…

Málagueño, Francisco Ruiz, a specialist in fish farming, and the two biologists from Granada, José Juan Nogales (ex worker at the installations) and university professor, Jesús Cano, consider that the devastating affect that the crisis had on the installations does not meant that fish farming doesn’t work; on the contrary, they firmly believe that it is the future. The three of them have accumulated experience in fish farming, marine biology and investigation. Together they now form Acuicultura Granada.

This new company is integrated into the Grupo Andalmar, which itself has an investigation division, Andalmar Biotech S.L. After acquiring the shares in the two fish farming companies, they have taken out a lease on the pens in Salobreña, as well as the installations in the old sugar factory, where the spawning and raising is carried out until the fish are ready for the pens. They have also acquired the Carchuna installations.

The key, they believe, is the choice of the right species; the previous owners raised sea bass and sea bream, but now the Carchuna farm will raise serviola (almaco jack) and plaice, as well as corvina (croaker) sprats, which will then be passed to the Salobreña pens. Salobreña, in the meantime, will be investigating the rearing of octopus and mussels. They have been putting into a lot of investigation into shortening the breeding period. The company believes that they have the know how and the best installation in Andalucia.

Furthermore they are collaborating with the University of Granada and will open the installations so that students can carry out practical studies there, thus converting the installation into a learning reference within the fish-farming industry.

Now comes the crunch; Acuicultura Granada needs around a million euros to get the ball rolling and have put down 150,000 euros. They also have an important grant of 475,000 from E.U. funding, which is managed by the Grupo de desarrollo Pesquero, which is responsible to the Junta‘s Board for Fishing and Agriculture. However, like everybody else trying to start a business venture, they have found the door to bank loans firmly closed… and that’s where they find themselves, slogging it out with the banks.

Getting back to the pens, the 36, 19-metre pens off the Salobreña coast that have been inactive for nearly two years will be increased in size from 19 to 22 metres, making them the largest installations in Andalucia, giving a production capacity of between 2,500 and 3,000 tonnes of fish.

Finally, another area that is being looked into is a substitute for chanquete. Anybody that has been around for about 15 years or more will remember that prized fish dish of fried sprats. It was ludicrous, of course, and was eventually banned.

(News: Salobrena/Carchuna, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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