AQUACULTURE SECTOR

In Spain an important aquaculture sector has also been developed. Apparently invented by the Chinese in 2500 BC. The cultivation of certain species of fish, especially freshwater species and certain molluscs, has been practiced since time immemorial. In Europe, there are references to the breeding of certain species, such as oysters, by ancient Egyptians and Greeks. The Romans installed both freshwater and saltwater tanks in their homes to raise eels and moray eels, and in the Middle Ages carp and trout, among other species, were bred in river ponds near abbeys and monasteries. But large-scale aquaculture has actually only taken off in Spain in recent decades. The introduction of new technologies has now made fish farming a real alternative to conventional fishing and is a way to compensate for the alarming decline in fish stocks while meeting national and international demand. Aquaculture in Spain today is a modern industry composed of competitive companies using advanced technology. Its products represent about a third of Spanish fishery production, which guarantees the presence in our tables of a large number of species of both freshwater and saltwater aquaculture.
Important species of saltwater aquaculture are the molluscs, where the mussel and fish stand out the turbot, which is raised in facilities on land and where Galicia concentrates more than 95% of the national production. For their part, sea bream and sea bass are produced in warmer waters along the Mediterranean and South Atlantic. New species such as octopus and haddock are also being cultivated, to name just a few.
Among freshwater species, the most produced in Spain is rainbow trout, especially in Galicia, followed by Castilla-León and La Mancha. On a much smaller scale, other continental species such as penca are being cultivated in reservoirs and lakes in Extremadura and, to a lesser extent, in Castile and Leon.
Finally, the sturgeon is produced in the upper reaches of the Guadalquivir river (Sierra Nevada, Granada) and in parts of the Pyrenees of Navarre and Lleida, and the crab of the Guadalquivir marshes (Andalusia).

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Montse Gonzalez