Hatchery International

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Chilean oyster hatchery looks to North America for new markets


July 7, 2014
By Ruby Gonzalez

A subsidiary of the Fundacion Chile, non-profit corporation is working towards boosting exports of Pacific oyster seed (Crassostrea gigas) to Canada.

         The Cultivos Marinos Tongoy (Cultimar) company is quoted as saying that world-wide there’s a serious shortage of Pacific oyster seed owing to outbreaks of various diseases. Along North America’s west coast, ocean acidification has adversely affected oyster seed survival at hatcheries and undermined seed production.

         Fortunately though, says Fundacion Chile in a recent statement, the oysters from Chile are free from disease, and the company intends to put together a special project to boost production for export, to aid small farmers in their activities and boost the domestic market.

         Axel Klimpel, executive director of the Fundacion, Chile’s Tongoy Centre, is quoted as saying that providing Canadian oyster farmers with seed would provide an excellent opportunity for increasing the “basket of products” with the Made in Chile label.

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         The Cultimar subsidiary has already positioned itself as “a major player” in the supply of oyster seed to the world.

         Roberta Stevenson, executive director of the British Columbia Shellfish Grower Association (BCSGA) on the Canadian west coast, is reported as confirming that the seafood industry in the province has been unable to find enough oyster seed for the past five years because of ocean-acidification problems at hatcheries in the United States.

         “The access to this resource, provided by Fundación Chile, will place our industry in a good economic position,” she’s recorded as saying, adding that the industry in BC produces oysters worth about $32 million (USD) each year. With a coastline of 47,000 kms, she said, the growth opportunities for the industry are “endless.”


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