Technological Innovations for the Farming of Razor Clams

A productive-economic option for the Areas of Management and Exploitation of Benthic Resources (AMERB): production and bottom farming of molluscs of commercial importance.

Project background: Nowadays, the scarcity of the razor clam (Ensis macha) directly affects artisanal fishermen, who must increase the fishing effort to catch them. The species has practically disappeared in the Coquimbo Region. The last landing of artisanal fishing was registered in 2006, with 18 tonnes. The extraction of this resource from the Areas of Management is also limited by the availability: however, many of these Areas are not totally used, remaining available surfaces to carry out other productive activities, such as the farming of alternative resources. For this reason, the project seeks to generate an option for the Areas of Management through the use of the authorized percentage for the farming of them, developing the bottom farming of razor clams for the benefit of artisanal fishermen, which are the last users of the products of this project.

The technical and economical efforts to develop the farming of razor clams have not been few and have been led by different work groups, specially the Universidad de Concepción. However, and considering that the different work groups have successfully developed a base technology of a larval and postlarval farming for this species, the scaling at pilot level has not been possible, remaining restricted only at experimental level. There are many factors that attempt against the scaling of the farming of this species, for example, the variability in the percentages of larval survival and specially the high mortality during the larval settlement. These technological issues remain unresolved, because the projects implemented so far have not been able to structure a technology that allows domesticating the species in terms of production, therefore the experimental results have not yet been transferred to the productive sector.

In a first instance, the solution to the problem is to optimize the farming of Ensis macha (Razor clam) in the hatchery phase through the development of a first R&D phase that seeks to solve existing bottlenecks in the larval and establishment phases; then, to incorporate technological and productive innovations that allow to obtain pre-seeds and seeds for its subsequent transfer to systems for fattening in a natural environment.

In this context, the project is oriented to solve the pending issues in the aquaculture of the razor clam and to generate a technology that allows the sustainable production of seeds from 10 to 15 mm, such as raw material to stimulate the development of projects of commercial farming in the areas of management AMERB, related to artisanal fishing.

General Objective: To generate a economic and productive alternative for the artisanal fishermen through the development of the technology for the commercial farming of molluscs (razor clam) from biomass produced on the hatchery.

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