Last week at AQUA srl in Genoa the first harvest of oysters grown with an IMTA farming system in the Ligurian Sea was successfully achieved. The oysters were initially deployed in June 2013 in lantern nets placed in close proximity of AQUA’s fish cages, feeding exclusively on the nutrients available in these oligotrophic waters and on the organic effluents from the cages.
Following the harvest, the biological parameters were measured. The entire batch consisted of around 1,000 oysters, a half of that consisting of Crassostrea gigas and the other half consisting of Ostrea edulis. The analytical results of the test are being prepared and will be published soon, however the first findings are very are encouraging. Danilo Pecorino, researchers at the University of Genoa, said the preliminary observations already demonstrated that the oysters were able to grow to commercial size both in shell and in flesh. Even more interesting, they were able to reproduce!
A number of spontaneous hosts was also found in the lantern nets, including scallops, polychaete worms and blenny fishes. Further work will be necessary in order to standardize this production method however this test is already a successful demonstration that traditional Mediterranean aquaculture can be effectively adapted to grow additional high-value species, for the benefit of fish famers, the environment and society.