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Annex I


The study of the marine aquaculture in Italy was carried out 4–8 December 1978 by D. Charbonnier, H. Cook, J. Glude, M. Girin and M. Zei.


1.1 Supply of fisheries products

The total production of the Italian fisheries was about 427 000 t in 1977 and the output of aquaculture of marine species approximately 10 000 t. The annual per caput consumption was about 9.0 kg. Because of the expanding market for fisheries products and static landings, imports have increased.

1.2 Supply of species with aquaculture potential

The 1977 FAO fisheries statistics record total catches of 615 t of sea bream, 3 142 t of sole, 2 462 t of eels, 1 122 t of sea bass, 7 626 t of mullet, 373 t of penaeid shrimp, and 4 500 t of mussels. Mussel production has been unofficially estimated at about 35 000 tons.

The production from traditional lagoon and valli culture can be estimated to be about 2 200 t of mullet, 1 100 t of eels, 1 100 t of sea bream, and 550 t of sea bass. In addition, pond culture produces some 600 t of eels and a few tons of sea bass. All the mussel production is obtained through aquaculture.

1.3 Estimated demand

The present production of sea bass, sea bream and sole is far from sufficient to satisfy the national demand, and the prices are the highest in the region, Lit. 7 000–14 000/kg.1 Substantial amounts of these species are imported from various European Economic Community (EEC) and Mediterranean countries.

Italy imports some 4 000 t of eels from other Mediterranean countries, but exports about 80 percent of these, along with eels produced by aquaculture in the country. Most of the eels are exported to West Germany, Denmark and Holland at wholesale prices of Lit. 5 000–7 500/kg. Italy also exports small quantities of mussels. Prices of other aquatic products are relatively low. Mullet are marketed at retail prices of Lit. 2 000–5 000/kg, and mussels at Lit. 800–1 700/kg. There is no doubt that the domestic market could absorb much larger amounts of sea bass, sea bream, sole and mullet, and that the export of eels can be increased.

1 Lit. 840 = approx. U.S.$ 1.00


2.1 Commercial ventures

Historically, coastal aquaculture has been conducted in Italy for many centuries. Initially, it started with lagoon culture in which mullet, sea bass, sea bream and eels, that migrate naturally into coastal lagoons in the spring, grow in them till the autumn when they are caught as they attempt to migrate back to the sea. In valli culture, developed in the area of Comacchio and Venice, the undersized fish, captured in complex weir systems (lavorieri) in the autumn, are held in deeper areas throughout the winter and released into the lagoons for another season's growth before harvesting. Water level and salinity are controlled in embanked portions of the lagoons. In some cases, natural recruitment from the sea is supplemented by stocking the growing areas with fry of several species collected at other locations.

The profitability of valli culture, however, has decreased progressively for a number of reasons, including the scarcity of wild fry. With the strong demand for the cultured species, efforts have been made by a number of valli owners and the government to the development of more elaborate aquaculture technologies. This has resulted in some interesting new developments, among which the Mission observed:

  1. intensive culture of sea bass in tanks by Centro Ittiologico Valli Venete (CIVV) at Val Pisani;

  2. pond culture of eels and sea bass, and tank nursing of sea bass at Commacchio by Società Itticoltura Valli di Comacchio (S.I.VAL.Co.);

  3. commercial farming of eels, using thermal effluent from a steel plant to accelerate growth of elvers to juvenile size with grow-out in large ponds at Calvisano, near Brescia, by the Società Allevamento Primo Stadio Anguille SpA (SAPSA). Moreover, at this location, an experiment is being carried out in the hyper-intensive culture of eels (up to 100 kg/m3) using thermal effluent. In addition, a new eel farm designed to produce 600 t/y, using water from geothermal wells, is being built;

  4. an experimental hatchery for sea bass, sea bream, sole and mullet at Orbetello, operated by the Municipality, in connexion with a project for improvement of the management of the lagoon; a research laboratory is also to be built there by the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR);

  5. private commercial culture of eels, using water at 23°C from geothermal wells near Orbetello; and

  6. a new small-scale sea bass hatchery built by ITALITTICA at Marsala, Sicily, with plans for a large grow-out facility and sale of fingerlings to other fish farmers.

From the visits made and the additional information provided, it appears that new developments in commercial ventures are concentrating on:

  1. intensive culture of eels, a reportedly profitable activity. Eel culture, however, relies mostly on imports of wild elvers from France, a situation that could lead to some seed supply problems in the future; and

  2. semi-intensive and intensive culture of sea bass from hatchery-reared fry. This is a new activity which became possible mainly because of the success achieved at the Società Industriale per le Riproduzione Artificiale del Pesce (SIRAP) hatchery in Pellestrina.

2.2 Current research and development activities

The following are some of the organizations involved in research and development concerning aquaculture with some government support:

2.2.1 The Centro Ricerche Ittiologiche di Comacchio SpA of S.I.VAL.Co.

This laboratory conducts research and development activities primarily concerning eel culture. It is located adjacent to commercial culture facilities of S.I.VAL.Co. and has funding from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the region Emilia-Romagna and CNR.

2.2.2 The Società Industriale per le Riproduzione Artificiale del Pesce (SIRAP)

This has an experimental hatchery for sea bass at Pellestrina.

2.2.3 The Centre for Fish Culture Research near Ca Venier

This operation is entirely funded by private fish farmers in the area and conducts research on artificial propagation, pond management, nutrition, mullet breeding, and culture of sea bass from fry to juvenile size, with a budget of about Lit. 50 million/year.

2.2.4 The new CNR laboratory at Orbetello

Some research projects implemented at present in Lesina will be relocated in Orbetello after the construction of a new Lit. 1 billion (U.S.$ 1.2 million) laboratory adjacent to the culture facility of the Municipality of Orbetello. This laboratory will have a staff of 12 researchers and operational funds of Lit. 200 million/year. It will have three ha of pilot-scale ponds and an experimental hatchery for shrimp and other species. Research to be conducted in this laboratory includes the reproduction and larval rearing of shrimp (Penaeus kerathurus), sea bass and sea bream. Later studies will be conducted on fish pathology in relation to valli culture and on the productivity of the lagoons.

2.2.5 The Messina University Istituto di Idrobiologia e Piscicoltura laboratory and experimental shrimp farm at Marza (Ispica), Sicily funded by CNR. This new facility, which is now under construction, will use post-larvae reared in Lesina to develop methods for culture of shrimp in earthen and surfaced ponds. Later a shrimp hatchery will be built there. Also, shrimp and mullet will be grown in a polyculture system in a natural lagoon, which will be deepened to provide a 37 ha area.

2.2.6 The Institute of Zoology at the University of Parma is conducting research on the artificial reproduction of sea bass, sea bream and mullet.

2.2.7 The Institute for Biological Studies of Lagoons (Laboratorio per lo Sfruttamento Biologico delle Lagune) at Lesina is studying, among other aspects, the reproduction of penaeid shrimps, the toxicity of industrial effluents, sea bass culture, and the stocking of cuttlefish (Sepia spp.) eggs in lagoons.

These various centres and institutions, involving both the public and the private sector, constitute an outstanding research and development force, which has been coordinated since 1976 under a five-year CNR aquaculture plan.

2.3 Institutional factors

At the present time, the prospects are good in Italy for culture of marine fishes, and possibly shrimps. Italy combines a good level of scientific and technical knowledge, an excellent market, and large areas of land suitable for pond culture. The government policy is to provide strong support for the development of mariculture, particularly in the southern part of the country, Sardinia, and Sicily. Low-interest loans are provided by the “Cassa per il Mezzogiorno” and in these areas foreign investment is strongly encouraged.

A National Coordinating Programme for the inland and aquaculture sector has been prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for the implementation of Law 984/77, under which Lit. 5 billion (almost U.S.$ 6 million) have been allocated for the development of aquatic resources for the first year of operation. Expected outputs of this Programme are the production of high-value species in brackish water, expanded eel and trout culture, and increased production of freshwater fish of high quality in the lakes. The Programme would include an initial survey to classify aquatic areas for different uses, research on culture techniques, studies on nutrition and feeds, mass production of fry and fingerlings, and other initiatives oriented to the solution of processing and marketing problems. Under this Programme, the private sector and cooperatives would be supported with loans that might reach 50 percent of capital costs.

In addition, the European Economic Community (E.E.C.) Fish Farmers Fund provides financial assistance for aquaculture development.


3.1 Crustaceans

The present status of the research provides a good basis for the development of shrimp culture, particularly in ponds, in the southern part of the country. The profitability of shrimp culture in Italy, however, has still to be demonstrated.

3.2 Molluscs

There would be no technical difficulty in expanding mussel production in Italy. Nevertheless, the demand decreased significantly after the cholera outbreak in Naples, attributed to mussels, and production decreased from 19 000 t in 1971 to 4 500 t in 1977. Expansion of the production would, therefore, depend largely on re-establishing the confidence of domestic and foreign consumers in the safety of the product.

Oyster culture could also be expanded using the European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) or the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), which are now established in the northern part of the Adriatic. As with mussels, careful sanitary controls and an appropriate publicity campaign will be required to re-establish consumer confidence in the safety of oysters.

3.3 Fish

As mentioned above, private farmers are already engaged in the development of eel culture, mainly for export, and sea bass culture, chiefly for the national market. When existing problems of mass rearing of the larvae of the sea bream are solved and hatcheries built, the culture systems used for sea bass could be applied to sea bream, which has the same market potential as sea bass. There is a high probability that good hatchery technology for sea bream would be developed within about five years.

Another mariculture species with a high market potential is the sole. The technology for rearing the larvae has been developed, but growing to market size is still in the experimental stage in Italy.


Continuation and expansion of research and development, as well as training, will be required to accelerate development of the mariculture industry in Italy. The combination of government and industry efforts, however, has already provided a sound basis for culture of several species and continuation of these efforts should solve the problems limiting the culture of others.


5.1 Transfer of technology

Several aspects of the existing Italian mariculture technology could greatly benefit other Mediterranean countries. These aspects include:

5.1.1 Valli culture

The present methods of valli culture in the Venice area are much more advanced than those used in some other countries, such as Turkey, Tunisia and Greece. Transfer of the technology to these countries could prove very beneficial.

5.1.2 Pond culture of sea bass and sea bream

Methods being used commercially at Val Pisani and Comacchio could be applied in several other countries. This would require hatcheries, such as those at Pellestrina or the new hatchery being developed at Marsala, Sicily. The new laboratory to be built at Orbetello will also be important in the development and application of artificial propagation.

5.1.3 Pond culture of eels

Commercial methods now in use at Calvisano and Orbetello could be applied in several other countries, provided that a source of elvers is available.

5.1.4 Expertise and services

Most of the research and development activities in aquaculture in Italy are at least partially supported by public funds, and presumably, the results would be available to other aquatic farmers. In addition, it is reported that some firms will provide the technology, design and construction of facilities and even operations on a commercial basis.

5.2 Potential sites for demonstration/training centres

It is obvious that Italy has developed better methods for aquaculture of several species than those used in several other Mediterranean countries. Therefore, the country could contribute greatly to the expansion of aquaculture in the Mediterranean region by sharing this knowledge through a demonstration/training programme. The programme could include training of foreign students at one or more locations in Italy and sending Italian specialists to foreign countries as consultants.

The development of improved culture methods has generally been supported, at least in part, by public funds and it appears likely that this will continue. Additional facilities are needed, however, particularly for demonstration and training activities. In addition to fulfilling national requirements, such facilities could serve as training sites for trainees of other countries. The operation of such facilities and training programmes may require external funding.

The potential sites for national as well as regional demonstration and training are:

5.2.1 Orbetello

A well-developed lagoon fishing facility and a small laboratory/hatchery operated by the Municipality are established in this location. It is also the site of the new laboratory of the CNR. The location has good infrastructure and is easily accessible from Rome. Furthermore, there is a private eel farm nearby and foreign students could learn improved methods of valli culture and eel culture even now. Later, after the new laboratory is completed and in operation, they might be able to learn methods for rearing sea bream and penaeid shrimp larvae.

5.2.2 Comacchio

The S.I.VAL.Co. laboratory at Comacchio and the adjacent production facilities for sea bass and eels are suitable for training of foreign students. The laboratory is well equipped for research and is partially supported by government funds. Also, it is close to Pellestrina, the new sea bass hatchery operated by SIRAP. It is also relatively close to the large commercial eel farms in the Calvisano area.

5.2.3 Marza (Ispica), Sicily

Construction of the new institute laboratory, hatchery and grow-out facility will provide training opportunities in culture of shrimp. It is unlikely, however, that this facility will be completed and ready to provide training within the next two years.

Appendix 1


Rome-Direzione Generale delle Foreste
Via XX Settembre 20
Tel: 464429
 Chelini, Alberto
-Laboratorio per lo Sfruttamento Biologico delle Lagune
Via Fraccacreta, 71010 Lesina (FG)
 Palmegiano, Giovanni
(accompanied the Mission during trip in Italy)
Chioggia-Comacchio-Promet Termoindustria Ravagnan SpA
Strada Battaglia 225, 35020 Albignasego (PD)
 Ravagnan, Gino
-Centro Ittiologico Valli Venete
Val Pisani, 45010 Ca' Venier (RO)
 Ghion, Franceso
-Centro Ricerche Ittiologiche, S.I.VAL.Co.
Via Mazzini 200, 44022 Comacchio (FE)
Tel: 0533-80192
 Lucchini, Marco
Production Director
Bilio, Martin
Gnes, Antonio
Corso Giovecca 59, 44100 Ferrara
 Fedele, Vincenzo
Desenzano-SAPSA, Calvisano
 Tolettini, G.
General Manager
Orbetello-Commune di Orbetello
Tel: 867046
 Brasola, Valentino
Fish culturist
-Bruni, G.
President of the Orbetello Fishermen's Cooperative
-Direzione Generale delle Foreste
Via XX Settembre 20, Rome
Tel: 464429
 Della Seta, G.
-Direzione Generale delle Foreste
Stabilimento Ittiogenico
Via Stazione Tiburtina 11, Rome
 Ferrero, Letizia
-Fisheries and Agriculture Advisor to Orbetello Commune
 Figuelle, A.
-Vongher, Piero
Mayor of Orbetello
-Guidi, R.
Fish farmer (eel, sea bass)
Sicily-Università di Messina
Istituto di Idrobiologia e Piscicoltura
Via dei Verdi 75, 98100 Messina
Tel: 710617
 Genovese, S.
Director of the Institute
Faranda, F.
In charge of the operative unit, CNR Ispica Project
 Nania, Benvenuto

Appendix 2


Battelle Institute, Fish farming: prospects and opportunities. Italy. Vol. 1. Economic country report. Geneva, Battelle Institute Research Centre, 40 p.

Lumare, F., 1978 Present state of knowledge on cultivable species in the Mediterranean. Paper presented to the Expert Consultation on Aquaculture Development in the Mediterranean Region convened by the Government of Greece in cooperation with FAO(GFCM) and UNEP. Athens, 14–18 March, 1978. Rome, FAO/UNEP, UNEP/WG-15/3:84 p. (Restricted) (issued also in French)

Ravagnan, G., 1977 La piscicoltura italiana d'acqua salmastra, sviluppi recenti e prospettive. CIVV (Cent.Ittiol.Valli Venete) Boll.Inf.Soci., (1977): 11–25

Ravagnan, G., 1978 Coastal aquaculture systems for fish and crustacea in the Mediterranean. Paper presented to the Expert Consultation on Aquaculture Development in the Mediterranean Region convened by the Government of Greece in cooperation with FAO(GFCM) and UNEP. Athens, 14–18 March, 1978. Rome, FAO/UNEP, UNEP/WG-15/4:46 p. (Restricted) (Issued also in French)


The study of the marine aquaculture on the Mediterranean coast of France was carried out 11–16 December 1978 by D. Charbonnier, H. Cook, J. Glude, P. Rouzaud and M. Zei.


1.1 Supply of fisheries products

According to FAO statistics, the total fishery production of France in 1977 was 760 323 t; landings from the Mediterranean coast were about 6 percent of the total (46 000 t in 1976).

1.2 Supply of species with aquaculture potential

According to 1976 statistics, the catches of cultivable species along the Mediterranean coast of France consisted of 1 612 t of mullet, 1 508 t of eel, 283 t of sole, 1 587 t of Sparidae, including the gilthead and other breams, and 1 661 t of demersal percomorphs, including the sea bass.

France is one of the leading European countries in the production of oysters and recently has made notable advances also in mussel farming. Oyster production in 1977 amounted to 112 500 t, of which about 104 800 t comprised the Portuguese oyster (Crassostrea angulata) and the Pacific oyster (C. gigas) and 7 700 t of the European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis). About 5 000 t of oysters were produced along the Mediterranean coast, a considerable portion in Etang de Thau, near Sète.

Mussel production in 1977 amounted to 53 000 t, an increase of 27 percent since 1972, of which about 8 000 t were from the Mediterranean coast and the rest from the Atlantic.

France also produces rainbow trout. In 1965, the total production was less than 3 000 t, but by 1975 it had reached the same level as in Italy, approximately 16 000 tons. In 1976, it dropped to 13 000 tons.

1.3 Estimated demand

The demand in France for seafood is substantial, especially for molluscs, crustaceans, and species of fish considered to be of high quality. Per caput consumption is about 15 kg/year. Total landings, as well as landings from the Mediterranean, have remained stable during the seventies, whereas demand has increased.

The rate of consumption, of course, varies. Shrimp are in the seller's market even at high prices, whereas there is a low demand for eels and mullet. Demand for sea bass, sea bream, sole, salmon and trout are considerable.


2.1 Commercial ventures

The aquaculture of certain species is well developed in France. Oyster and mussel farming have been conducted for many generations and trout culture by private farms produces about 15 000 t/year. There are good research and development centres and a great deal of private interest in the culture of new species, such as sea bass, sea bream, sole and shrimp.

2.1.1 Crustaceans

The marine shrimp Penaeus kerathurus is in high demand. Hatchery and grow-out techniques are now being developed by the Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Oceans (CNEXO) - Station Démonstration, Expérimentation et Valorisation de l'Aquaculture (DEVA) for Penaeus japonicus and P. kerathurus, and a demonstration farm is planned in Corsica. Commercial shrimp culture is being attempted by Les Compagnons de Maguelone at Palavas. Although there is much private interest, there are no profitable shrimp farms in France at the present time.

2.1.2 Molluscs

Oysters and mussels have been cultured traditionally along the Atlantic coast of France and in the Mediterranean, especially at Etang de Thau. The European flat oyster (O. edulis) is in high demand. The Portuguese oyster (C. angulata), which was largely destroyed by an unidentified disease, has been largely replaced by the Pacific or Japanese oyster (C. gigas). One oyster hatchery is in operation and natural setting of the Pacific oyster has begun in certain areas following the introduction of seed and adult C. gigas from Canada and Japan.

Several species of clams, including the palourde, Tapes (Venerupis) decussatus and the cockle Cerastoderma (Cardium) edule are well accepted. Although most of the supply comes from natural stocks, farming of palourde and a similar Japanese species Venerupis semidecussata, and the American hard shell clam Mercenaria mercenaris has been attempted.

Commercial culture of the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) is well developed and economically successful, especially at Etang de Thau.

2.1.3 Fish

Lagoon (étang) farming for sea bass, sea bream, mullet, sole and eel is practised in the traditional manner on the Mediterranean coast of France, but has not yet developed into valli culture as in Italy.

Hatchery techniques for sea bass and sole are already available and work on propagation of sea bream is well advanced. Some commercial fish farms have been started for rearing hatchery-produced fry at Salses near Perpignan at Balaruc-les-Bains, near Sète, and at Palavas-les-Flots, but the profitability of the operation has yet to be demonstrated.

The culture of eels is still in its infancy. Several trials were made in order to adapt Japanese techniques, but no commercial farm is in operation yet. Elvers captured in French streams are shipped to Italy where they are reared to marketable size. It is expected that eel farming will develop in the future in view of the lucrative export trade to neighbouring countries. At present, 90 percent of the catch of large eels from natural waters is exported to Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and West Germany.

Culture of salmon and trout in salt water enclosures, pens and cages is being developed on a commercial scale by CNEXO in Brittany. The present production is about 50 t/y of each species.

2.2 Current research and development activities

2.2.1 Crustaceans

Culture techniques for the Japanese shrimp (P. japonicus) have been well developed by CNEXO using post-larvae from Japan, and similar techniques were found to be applicable to P. kerathurus. Subsequently, successful techniques for achieving maturation spawning and larval development of both species have been developed by CNEXO. Pilot-scale culture is in progress by DEVA with commercial trials at Compagnons de Maguelone at Palavas, and a demonstration farm for shrimp culture is to be built in Corsica by CNEXO; this farm being designed to produce 18 t of shrimp and 100 t of sea bass per year. When operational, it will provide information regarding production costs which can be used to determine the economic viability of these culture systems.

Research conducted at the Marine Station in Endoume, Marseilles, on the shrimp Palaemon serratus is helping to provide a sound scientific basis for feeding, culture and maturation, much of which will be applicable also to other species of shrimp.

2.2.2 Molluscs

Successful hatchery techniques for C. gigas have been developed and one hatchery is in operation on the Atlantic coast near Barfleur. However, wild seed is available in adequate quantities in France and along the Adriatic coast of Italy, as well as from Japan and Canada, so the demand for hatchery seed is low.

Seed of C. gigas have also been produced in one experiment at the CNEXO DEVA station at Palavas-les-Flots, and most of the progeny have been found to have much deeper cupped shells than is characteristic of this species, which appear to be of an environmental rather than a genetic character.

Seed of the European flat oyster are generally available from France and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Hatchery methods for this species have been developed and could be applied if necessary to increase seed supplies.

Unexplained mass mortality of cultured oysters has occurred in Yugoslavia and France. The need for pathological investigations is therefore obvious; it is worth noting that competence in shellfish pathology work has been developed at ISTPM, Sète, and at the University of Montpellier.

There is a good scientific basis for mussel culture in the country, and the commercial industry is expanding. On the other hand, clam culture is only just beginning and considerable research and development will be needed to bring it to a commercial scale.

2.2.3 Fish

Successful sea bass hatcheries have been developed by Station de Biologie Marine et Lagunaire de Sète (SBMLS), by CNEXO (Brest and DEVA), and by Les Poissons du Soleil (Balaruc-les-bains).

Sea bream hatcheries are becoming successful, although larvae survival is still very low. Research and development are being conducted by SBMLS and by CNEXO (Brest and DEVA).

Hatchery techniques for the sole have been developed by CNEXO but grow-out problems still exist as the sole does not readily accept artificial pellets and natural foods, such as mussels, are comparatively expensive.

While mullet culture based on fry obtained from the wild has been well developed in some Mediterranean countries, there is little interest in France because of the low market price; there is also little interest in eel culture because of the limited market in the country.

2.3. Institutional factors

The Marine Fisheries Directorate1 in the Ministry of Transport is responsible for marine fisheries development. It has representatives in all coastal areas, six of which are in the Mediterranean.

Aquaculture development involves the participation of twelve ministries, the most important being Transport, Agriculture, Industry and Research; a “Mission interministérielle de la mer” has therefore been established to ensure interministerial coordination.

Institutions involved in aquaculture are Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Océans (CNEXO), Institut Scientifique et Technique des Pêches Maritimes (ISTPM), Centre Technique de Génie Rural, des Eaux et des Forêts (CTGREF), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), and the Direction des Services Vétérinaires through its Laboratoire de Pathologie des Animaux Aquatiques. In addition, several universities undertake aquaculture research in the Mediterranean; the main ones being the Universities of Marseilles, Paris (with two stations in Banyuls-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer), Montepellier and Brest.

1 Direction des pêches maritimes, 3 place de Fontenoy, 75700 Paris

CNEXO has created a society “France Aquaculture” to promote aquaculture development and carries out research through contracts with public or private organizations. In addition, several private or semi-private companies provide consultancy services to prospective fish farmers in and outside the country.

The Government is taking a great interest in the development of mariculture and coordinated measures are taken to assist the authorities. A National Directory Scheme for Aquaculture and Shellfish Culture is under preparation and “Regional Aquaculture Delegates” in charge of the coordination of this activity were nominated in 1978, including two for the Mediterranean coast.

Professional culturists participate in the decision-making through the “Interprofessional Shellfish Culture Committee” (CIC) created in 1945. They also have delegates in the various Fisheries Committees.

The most essential administrative measures for the development of mariculture along the French coasts have now been taken; others, for the provision of financial and technical assistance, are under preparation.


3.1 Crustaceans

Much research effort has been devoted for the last few years to the culture of the penaeid shrimps (P. japonicus and P. kerathurus). The full life cycle of these shrimps can be controlled in captivity and this has been demonstrated technically by the production of 300 000 post-larvae and one ton of marketable shrimp in 1978. None the less, to achieve economic success of shrimp culture in the country, improvements in culture technology and the production of artificial diets at a reasonable price are required.

3.2 Molluscs

Oyster and mussel culture are well developed and most of the areas suitable for the traditional techniques of on and off-bottom and cultures are utilized. If the new technologies for open-sea culture now being tested are successful, production could be increased.

The culture of clams, scallops and abalone is being investigated.

3.3 Fish

The culture of coho salmon and rainbow trout in sea water is now economically feasible and expansion will depend on site availability and demand.

Sea bass culture, using hatchery-produced seed, is technically feasible on a pilot scale and a plant for the demonstration of its economic feasibility is under construction in Corsica. In addition, several private farmers are presently involved in commercial culture trials, so it can be expected that sea bass culture will soon develop on the Mediterranean coast.

The technical feasibility of sole, sea bream and turbot culture through the whole life cycle has been demonstrated on a pilot or laboratory scale. Sole culture is being tested in a pilot scale facility in Noirmoutier.


Continuation and expansion of research and development, as well as extension and training, will be required to accelerate the development of marine aquaculture. Culture methods for several species are successful at laboratory scale, but need testing at pilot and commercial scale to determine their applicability at production level. The sequence of aquaculture development adopted by CNEXO consists of laboratory-scale experiments, followed by pilot-scale and production-scale tests with evaluation of costs in relation to the market price for the product.


5.1 Crustaceans

The Marine station d'Endoume at Marseilles provides a good opportunity for training of researchers in physiology of shrimp, but this training would not be applicable to shrimp farmers or government aquaculture specialists.

The CNEXO station DEVA at Palavas provides training opportunities in shrimp culture for students from other countries as it is a pilot plant facility; the new CNEXO station at Corsica will provide an even better training opportunity in shrimp culture as it will function as a demonstration farm.

5.2 Molluscs

The commercially successful culture of oysters and mussels at Etang de Thau provides a good opportunity for training of students and government personnel from other Mediterranean countries which plan to develop shellfish culture. This training could include procedures for depuration of oysters, mussels and clams before marketing and procedures for harvesting, processing, packaging and transportation to markets. The Institut Scientifique et Technique des Pêches Maritimes (ISTPM) laboratory at Sète is responsible for the certification of areas for shellfish culture and for testing of the product to determine whether depuration has been satisfactory. Practical oyster culturists from Etang de Thau and specialists from ISTPM could also be used as consultants to teach methods of mussel and oyster culture, shellfish processing, sanitation and marketing in other countries.

The competence in oyster pathology research, developed in ISTPM at Sète and at the University of Montpellier, could be used to help other countries, such as Yugoslavia, in which unexplained oyster mortalities occur.

5.3 Fish

Research workers of the SBMLS at Sète were the first to induce spawning of the sea bass in 1970. Since that time, they have developed methods for holding the brood stock, achieving maturation, rearing larvae and growing juveniles to market size. They are continuing research to improve methods of larval culture. For example, they have raised sea bass larvae using prepared frozen foods as well as rotifers and copepods from sewage oxidation ponds. Plans are in progress to start cage rearing of sea bass in the sea with the cooperation of local fishermen.

Scientists at this laboratory also are working on the development of improved methods of rearing sea bream larvae which, at present, is more difficult than the rearing of sea bass. Although the larvae of both species may have a 50 percent mortality before they begin to feed, the total survival through the larval period is 20–50 percent for sea bass, but only about 4 or 5 percent for sea bream. There is also the problem of vertebral deformities which appear in both species after about a month.

The Sète laboratory provides a good facility for training researchers from other countries and has already trained students from Greece, Algeria and South American countries. Training at this Centre would be less relevant to potential fish farmers from developing countries because the primary objective of this laboratory is pure research.

CNEXO has specialized in aquaculture at three levels:

  1. laboratory-scale research, such as that conducted in Brest and Tahiti and under contract at several universities or institutes, such as Station de Biologie Marine et Lagunaire de Sète and Station Marine d'Endoume in Marseilles;

  2. pilot-scale experiments, similar to those conducted at DEVA/Sud at Palavas-les-Flots (shrimp, sea bass and sea bream) and Aqualive at Noirmontier (sole); and

  3. demonstration farms, such as SODAB in Brittany (salmon), and CORSAM in Corsica which is being built to demonstrate culture on a commercial scale of sea bass and shrimp.

CNEXO stations appear to be able to provide training at all levels from fish farmer to researcher. In addition, France Aquaculture has been established to provide consulting services needed to develop production facilities and apply techniques developed by CNEXO.

In addition to sea bass and sea bream, CNEXO scientists have worked on the rearing of sole and turbot, both of which have potential for aquaculture. Research workers at SMBLS at Sète have attempted the culture of the amberjack (Seriola) and the grouper (Epinephelus), but neither of these species can yet be used for commercial aquaculture.

Training of fish farmers and technicians in practical or commercial culture of sea bass and later sea bream will become possible at Salses, where Méditerranée-Pisciculture is developing a large commercial-scale production facility.


The following map and list indicate the various organizations dealing with aquaculture along the Mediterranean coast of France. Time at the disposal of the Mission was not sufficient to visit all these laboratories and field aquaculture operations.

1.Méditerranée Pisciculture
66600 Salses
Tel: (68) 38 61 29
Prd: M. Mazurel Dir: M. Conte
Rue de la Placette
11100 Bages
Tel: (64) 32 19 73
Prd: M. Chevrier
Délégué général: M. Maffre
3.GAEC les Poissons du Soleil
B.P. 10
34540 Balaruc-les-Bains
Tel: (67) 78.56.77
MM. Grimal, Balma, René, Caubère, Lafeuille
4.Aqua Service
15 Montée des Pierres Blanches
34200 Sète
Dir: P. Serène
5.Station de Biologie Marine et Lagunaire
Quai du Bosc prolongé
34200 Sète
Tel: (67) 74 36 70
Prd: Prof. J. Paris
Assistant: G. Barnabé
6.Centre ISTPM de Sète
1 Route d'Agde
34200 Sète
Tel: (67) 74 22 99
Dir: M. Fauvel
6a.Comité Interprofessionnel de la Conchyliculture
7.C.A.T. Les Compagnons de Maguelone
34250 Palavas-les-Flots
Tel: (67) 73 48 60
Prd: Prof. Lafon
Dir: M. Sales
8.Station DEVA
34250 Palavas-les-Flots
Tel: (67) 68 07 64 and 68 08 33
Chef Station: M. Cognie
9.Laboratoire d'Hydrobiologie Marine
Université des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc
Place Eugène-Bataillon
34000 Montpellier
Tel: (67) 63 91 44
Dir: Prof. M. Amanieu
10.CTGREF de Bordeaux - Antenne de Montpellier
Rue Jules-Guesde
34000 Montpellier
Tel: (67) 75 27 28
Chef. d'antenne: M. Ledoux
11.Pecheries de Camargue
13200 Raphele
Dir: M. Coustellier
12.Sivom Arles/Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone
Hôtel de Ville
13250 Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone
Tel: (91) 86 90 00
Secrétaire: M. Mattei
13.EDF Martigues - Ponteau
2 Rue Beauvau
13001 Marseille
Tel: (91) 33 66 54
Prd: M. Léonard
15.Station Marine d'Endoume
Rue de la Batterie des Lions
13007 Marseille
Tel: (91) 52 12 94
Dir: Prof. J.M. Pérès
16a.Observatoire de la Mer (Dr. Bombard)
17.Institut Michel-Pacha
83500 La Seyne-sur-Mer
Tel: (94) 94 82 02
Dir: Prof. G. Peres
Parc de la Côte
1 Avenue Jeau-Lorrain
06300 Nice
Tel: (93) 89 32 92
Dir: M. Aubert
B.P. 4
20270 Aleria
Tel: (95) 57 01 49
Dir: M. Vitrac
Domaine de Pinia
20240 Ghisonaccia
Dir. développement: M. Albertini

Appendix 1


La Seyne-sur-Mer-CNEXO/BOM
Harbour zone of Brégaillon
83500 La Seyne-sur-Mer
 Chomel de Varagnes
Director of the base
Delegate of CNEXO for the Mediterranean
Perrot, J.
Director of France Aquaculture
Branch of CNEXO for development of aquaculture
Marseilles-Station Marine d'Endoume
Rue de la Batterie des Lions
13012 Marseilles
 Ceccaldi, H. Dr.
Director of the Laboratory of High Practical Studies
Alliot, Mlle.
Fish nutrition
Meze-Comité Interprofessionnel de la Conchyliculture - CIC
Le Mourre Blanc
34140 Meze
 Bondon, F.
-Les Flots Bleus 34140 Meze
Oyster breeder
Montpellier-CTGREF de Bordeaux
Sub-centre of Montpellier
Rue Jules-Guesde
34000 Montpellier
 Ledoux, O.
Chief of Sub-centre
Montpellier-Université des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc
Place Eugène-Bataillon
34000 Montpellier
 Amanieu, M. Prof.
Director of the Laboratory of Marine Hydrobiology
Palavas-les-Flots-Centre d'Aide par le Travail - C.A.T. - Les Compagnons de Maguelone
34250 Palavas-les-Flots
 Sales, M.
Centre Director
Chief, rearing department
-Station DEVA Sud du CNEXO
34250 Palavas-les-Flots
 Cognie, M.
Chief of Station, Shrimp reproduction
Fish reproduction
Debos, Mlle.
Fish growing and nutrition
Salses-Méditerranée Pisciculture
66600 Salses
 Mazurel, M.
Conte, M.
Aquaculturist, Chief of exploitation
Sète-Centre ISTPM de Sète
Ancienne route d'Agde
34200 Sète
 Fauvel, M.
Dr. Centre Director
Raimbault, R. Dr.
Mollusc culture in lagoons and sea
Combs, Dr.
Mollusc pathology
Campillo, Dr.
Lobster reproduction
-Station de Biologie Marine et Lagunaire de Sète
Quai du Bosc prolongé
34200 Sète
 Paris, J. Prof.
Director of laboratory
Barnabe, G.Dr.
Sea bass and sea bream reproduction

Appendix 2


1. National sources

Caubere, J.L., et al., 1976 Maturation and spawning of Penaeus japonicus in captivity, and testing controlled reproduction at Maguelone on the coast of France. Paper presented to the FAO Technical Conference on Aquaculture, Kyoto, Japan, 26 May–2 June, 1976. Rome, FAO, FIR: Aq/Conf./76/E.49

Girin, M. and Y. Harache, 1976 Fish breeding in sea water, new results obtained in France with respect to research and development. Paper presented to the FAO Technical Conference on Aquaculture, Kyoto, Japan, 26 May–2 June, 1976. Rome, FAO, FIR: Aq/Conf.76/E:33 p.

ISTPM, 1974 La conchyliculture française. 1re partie. Le milieu naturel et ses variations. Rev.Trav.Inst.Pêches Marit., Nantes, 38(3):217–337

ISTPM, 1976 La conchyliculture française. 2e partie. Biologie de l'huître de la moule. Rev.Trav.Inst.Pêches Marit., Nantes, 40(2):193–345

Laubier, L. and A. Laubier-Bonichon, 1977 The culture of the imperial shrimp Penaeus japonicus. Sci.Tech.Paris, (44):49–59

URDA-SUD, 1977 Fiche 1. L'aquaculture du loup: la production de juveniles. Technique de production. Serie de fiches techniques sur l'aquaculture. Bull.Inf.CNEXO, (114)Suppl. 16 p.

URDA-SUD, 1978 Fiche 2. L'aquaculture du loup: la production de juveniles. Economie de la production. Serie de fiches techniques sur l'aquaculture. Bull.Inf.CNEXO, (117–118)Suppl. 12 p.

2. Foreign sources

A survey of the prospects and opportunities of fish farming in six western European countries, including France, was undertaken for the last two years by the Batelle Institute (Geneva). The final report, to be available by May 1979, will provide the most up to date information on mariculture in France (distribution by Batelle Institute only).


The study of the marine aquaculture potential on the Mediterranean coast of Spain was carried out 17–22 December 1978 by D. Charbonnier, H. Cook, J. Glude, P. Rouzaud and M. Zei.


1.1 Supply of fisheries products

According to FAO statistics, the total catches and production of fisheries products in 1977 were 1 454 800 t, but landings and production from the Mediterranean coast were only about 10 percent of the total.

1.2 Supply of species with aquaculture potential

The total 1978 catches of cultivable species are 837 t of mullet, 65 t of eel, 791 t of sole, 460 t of Sparidae, including the gilthead and other breams, and 4 699 t of demersal percomorphs, including the sea bass. Mollusc production included 43 t of oysters, 565 t of mussels, and 794 t of clams.

1.3 Estimated demand

Per caput consumption of fisheries products was 37.2 kg in 1975. It has been estimated that the demand for fisheries products in Spain will increase more than 20 percent by 1985.

The demand varies by species. Mussels, a major crop on the north Atlantic coast, have supplied the domestic market in Spain and much of the regional market. Only 6 percent of mussels are produced along the Mediterranean coast and it is unlikely that additional mussels produced there would find a ready market.

Oyster production is low, especially on the Mediterranean coast. Domestic demand is very limited and much of the crop is exported to France.

Demand is strong for shrimp, sole, sea bream, sea bass and moderate for eel and mullet.


2.1 Commercial ventures

2.1.1 Mussels

Mussel raft culture began in the Mediterranean, but expanded on a large scale on the Atlantic coast at Vigo, Galicia. Standard methods for raft culture have been developed and production has reached a high level. In fact, there are indications of over-production. Smaller quantities of mussels are raised in the Mediterranean but generally these ventures are not very profitable because of the large production in the Vigo area. Mussel culture in Spain has served as an example for similar ventures in various parts of the world, including the United States and Venezuela, and future developments on the Mediterranean coast could also be modelled on it.

2.1.2 Oysters

There is some production of Ostrea edulis in the Mediterranean and Crassostrea angulata and C. gigas in the southern Atlantic coast of Spain. Generally, the lagoons along the Mediterranean shore are low in phytoplankton production, although somewhat higher than the Mediterranean Sea and this limits the potential for oyster culture in those areas.

2.1.3 Clams

There is some harvesting of natural stocks of Cerastoderma (Cardium) edule (berberecho), Venus gallina (chirla), Tapes (Venerupis) decussatus (clam) and Donax trunculus (tallarina). In three farms near Tarragona, seed clams under 3 mm are collected, planted on growing beds and harvested after two years. There is considerable interest in clam farming at Cadiz and Huelva, and there are plans for the establishment of a clam and oyster hatchery in Huelva.

2.1.4 Lagoon culture

In several places, including the Ebro Delta, Albufera de Valencia, and Mar Menor, there are traditional lagoon fisheries. Recently, there have been private efforts near Cadiz to convert the old salt works to pond culture of sea bass, sea bream and sole. Ponds are being constructed at the present time and the interested company (Esperanza S, XIX) is trying to obtain fry of sea bream, sea bass and sole for stocking them. Some fry are available from the wild and from the experimental hatcheries at Mar Menor, Castellón, and Galicia, but the company plans to build a hatchery near Cadiz. There is also interest in private fish culture at Ebro Delta near Barcelona and on the northeast coast of Spain.

2.1.5 Shrimp

Juveniles of the penaeid shrimp Penaeus kerathurus have been reared and released to restock an area near Castellón. Subsequent fishing showed some indications of the success of this operation.

The laboratory of the Instituto de Investigaciones Pesqueras at Castellón has provided 5 cm juveniles to a private firm near Cadiz for experimental plantings. There are also private firms at the Ebro Delta which are interested in shrimp culture. Although there is much interest in shrimp culture, there is as yet no successful commercial shrimp culture in Spain or, for that matter, in any place in the Mediterranean area.

2.1.6 Aquaculture production

Total production by aquaculture along the Mediterranean coast of Spain is estimated to include 100 t of sea bass, 200 t of sea bream, 800 t of mullet, 50 t of sole, 100 t of eel, 50 t of oysters and 600 t of mussels.

2.2 Current research and development activities

Two major organizations are involved in research and development concerning aquaculture:

  1. The Instituto de Investigaciones Pesqueras (IIP) in Barcelona is affiliated to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas of the Ministry of Education and Science. IIP laboratories are located at Castellón, Blanes, Vigo, Cadiz and the Canary Islands.

  2. The Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO), attached to the Ministry of Commerce, operates the Laboratorio del Mar Menor at San Pedro del Pinatar (Murcia).

2.2.1 Fish

The hatchery technology for sea bass has been fairly well developed in France and Italy, and research to improve production methods for sea bream is being conducted by the IEO laboratory at Mar Menor.

The IIP laboratory at Castellón is working on hatchery and grow-out techniques for the sole (Solea). Generally, hatchery techniques are successful, but juvenile sole do not readily accept pelleted feeds. On the other hand, the sole will feed and grow successfully on mussels, but this feed item is too expensive.

The IEO laboratory at Mar Menor is also developing hatchery techniques for mullet, and research workers have had some success in rearing larvae from the eggs of one female caught in the commercial fishery. They have not been successful in achieving maturation of mullet in captivity. The laboratory is also studying the amberjack (Seriola dumerilii) and has recorded growth from 200 g to 3–5 kg in two years in captivity. It has been observed that newly caught, small Seriola will learn to eat pellets when placed in a tank with large Seriola. As the winter temperatures at Mar Menor are frequently 13–15°C and sometimes as low as 8°C, Seriola are kept in a recirculating water system at 20°C. This laboratory also is working on the culture of the striped sea bream Lithognathus mormyrus.

2.2.2 Shrimp

The IEO laboratory at Mar Menor has reared larvae of P. kerathurus, but the major efforts of this laboratory are concerned with fish culture.

The IIP laboratory at Castellón has a major programme of hatchery development and rearing of shrimp. The new laboratory provides large well-equipped facilities for this purpose. This research centre works closely with a number of scientists, from Japan, Italy, France and Belgium. Shrimp larvae will be raised in large rectangular tanks with sand bottoms, arranged in such a way that there is a circulation of water through the sand. Plans are in progress to grow-out shrimp in raceways, following the systems used at Galveston, Texas, and at the University of Arizona, U.S.A.

The state of knowledge regarding larval culture of P. kerathurus and grow-out to commercial size has been well developed on a laboratory scale during the last five or six years; the technology is adequate for extensive culture systems. The IIP laboratory has had contacts with private firms at Ebro Delta and at Cadiz, and provides advice, design and juveniles for experimental culture purposes. There is a good potential for commercial shrimp culture, though not in the immediate future.

2.2.3 Molluscs

Techniques for mussel culture are well developed. No hatcheries are needed and there are no major problems in producing all the quantities of mussels needed to satisfy the present demand. Production methods for oysters are well known, but there are few satisfactory sites for oyster culture along the Mediterranean coast of Spain. A hatchery is planned at Huelva.

The technology for rearing the clam T. decussatus in hatcheries is available and a new hatchery is planned at Huelva. Research concerning clam culture is conducted by the IEO located nearby. Few satisfactory sites for clam culture are found along the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

2.3 Institutional factors

Important research is in progress at IIP and IEO laboratories. The results of research in these laboratories however will need pilot-scale testing to determine economic viability.


3.1 Crustaceans

The important developmental work at the IIP laboratory at Castellón will provide the scientific basis for larval culture of shrimp and design of controlled environment (raceway) systems of growing them to market size. Pilot and commercial scale tests with economic analysis are needed however, before commercial ventures can be recommended.

3.2 Molluscs

The commercial culture of mussels and oysters is well developed in Spain and production can be expanded if warranted by increased demand. Clam culture methods are needed to expand production to meet the demand.

3.3 Fish

There is a good potential for developing commercial pond culture of sea bass, sea bream, sole and mullet along the Mediterranean coast. Later, controlled environment systems, which permit greater density of stocking and therefore require less land, may be needed because of the cost of seashore property.


Continuation and expansion of research and development, as well as training, will be required to accelerate development of marine aquaculture in Spain. Culture methods for several species are successful on a laboratory scale, but need pilot-scale testing to evaluate their applicability on production level. Improved cooperation between the research centres in Spain would expedite the development of a solid scientific basis for aquaculture of various species.


5.1 Crustaceans

The IIP laboratory at Castellón is developing techniques for larval culture of shrimp and later will develop grow-out systems in raceways. This should provide the basis for development of intensive culture systems for shrimp in Spain and other Mediterranean countries.

5.2 Molluscs

Commercial culture of mussels is well developed in Vigo and it would be logical to send personnel from aquaculture development projects to Vigo to observe these methods. It should also be possible to employ one or more commercial mussel culturists from the Vigo area, to help other countries in the development of mussel culture.

Methods of clam culture may be developed at the Huelva laboratory and in the future these techniques might be used in selected places in other countries. Although methods for rearing the larvae of Tapes (Venerupis) and some other species are well known, it will be necessary to develop practical systems to grow the seed from setting size of about 0.3 mm to about 10 mm in diameter, at which size they can survive in open waters. It will also be necessary to develop techniques for planting the clam seed and protecting it from predators.

5.3 Fish

The IEO laboratory at Mar Menor has a well-qualified staff working on the development of sea bream hatchery techniques and is beginning work on the Seriola, mullet and some other species. These techniques, when perfected, will provide the basis for commercial culture in Spain and other Mediterranean countries. The institute also plans to begin cage or pen culture of sea bream and other species in Mar Menor and this will help to develop the technology of deep-water aquaculture which could be adopted in Yugoslavia, Greece and, perhaps, other countries.

The IIP laboratory in Castellón is developing techniques for hatchery culture and grow-out of Solea, which will provide the basis for commercial culture of this species at various places in the Mediterranean region.

5.4 General

The two institutes, IIP and IEO, operate research laboratories, but not pilot-scale or demonstration fish farms. It would be logical to send scientists from developing countries to these institutions for training but not potential fish farmers. It would be advantageous nevertheless to use the knowledge gained by researchers at these laboratories in the development of plans for demonstration of training centres in other countries.

The only immediately available training opportunity in practical aquaculture in Spain appears to be at Vigo. If the commercial fish farm now under construction near Cadiz becomes successful, it could be used as a demonstration centre for government aquaculture personnel, extension specialists and potential fish farmers from several developing countries.

Finally, the participation of specialists from IEO and IIP and practical mollusc or fish culturists in a Mediterranean Regional Aquaculture Programme would help to expedite the development of aquaculture throughout the region.

Appendix 1


 - Arnal Atares, José Ignacio
Laboratorio del Instituto Español de Oceanografía
Lealtad 13, Santander
(accompanied the Mission during trip in Spain)
Madrid-Dirección General de Pesca Marítima
Ruiz de Alarcón 1
Madrid 14
Tel: 221 6075
 Gonzalo Vásquez Martínez
Velez, C.
Sub Director-General
Vera, J.
Chief of Department
Mar Menor-Laboratorio Oceanográfico del Mar Menor
(Instituto Español de Oceanografía)
Apartado Correos 22
San Pedro del Pinatar
 De Leon, A.R.
Ros Vincent, J.
Responsible for Marine Pollution Programmes
Santaella, E.
Responsible for Aquaculture Programmes
Castellón-Planta Piloto de Acuicultura
(Instituto de Investigaciones Pesqueras)
Torre de la Sal
 San Feliu, J.M.
Amat, F.
Zooplankton, Artemia
Carillo, M.
Fish Physiology
Muñoz, F.
Peña, J.B.
Fish Culture (sole)
Mrs. S. Zanui
Fish Physiology
Cadiz-Plan de Explotación Marisquera y de Cultivos Marinos de la Región Suratlántica (PEMARES)
Edificio Casa del Mar
 Martínez Romero, José
Alcantar, Francisco Javier
Pérez Rodríguez, José Manuel
-Empresa salinas “Esperanza S. XIX”
 Molinero, Antonio

Appendix 2


FAO, 1978 Yearbook of fishery statistics. Vol. 44, Catches and landings, 1977. Yearb.Fish.Stat., (44):343 p.

GFCM, 1978 Statistical bulletin: nominal catches. Bulletin statistique du CGPM: captures nominales 1966–76. Stat.Bull.GFCM/Bull.Stat.CGPM (2):104 p.

San Feliu, J.M., 1973 Present state of aquaculture in the Mediterranean and south Atlantic coasts of Spain. Stud.Rev.GFCM/Etud.Rev.CGPM (52):1–24


The study of the marine aquaculture potential in Morocco was carried out 12–17 February 1979 by D. Charbonnier, H. Cook, M. Girin, J. Glude and M. Zei.


1.1 Supply of fisheries products

The total landings in 1977 amounted to 260 000 t, of which about 10 percent was derived from the Mediterranean. The catch of demersal species in the Mediterranean has remained nearly constant during the last decade with little change in fishing effort. The value of the catch, however, has increased greatly. The catch in the Atlantic is largely the European pilchard or sardine, which fetch Mor.Dh. 1–3/kg.1 In contrast, the Mediterranean catch is largely of demersal species, which are high-priced.

1.2 Supply of species with aquaculture potential

Landings of cultivable species in Morocco in 1977 comprise 3 t of eel, 383 t of mullet, 1 340 t of flatfish, including sole, 4 795 t of Sparidae, including gilthead sea bream, 800 t of shrimp and 6 964 t of marine fishes, including sea bass.

Landings from the Mediterranean coast of Morocco in 1976 comprised 14 t of sole, 1 590 t of Sparidae, including gilthead sea bream and 1 019 t of demersal percomorphs, including sea bass.

About 100 t of oysters (Crassostrea gigas) are produced in three private farms along the Atlantic coast, and there are small fisheries for the European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) at various places along the Mediterranean coast.

Mussels from natural stocks, largely along the Atlantic coast, are harvested and sold in the shell or as a dried product. As mussels are generally sold outside regular market channels, no records of landings are available.

Several species of clams are harvested on a commercial scale from wild stocks, and virtually the entire production is shipped to Spain. The species include the palourde (Tapes decussatus), the false palourde (Venus gallina), the clovisse (Glycimeris sp.), and Donax trunculus.

Two Moroccan shrimp trawlers are operating in the Atlantic and producing about 80 percent of the total landings, largely of Parapeneopsis sp., fetching about Mor.D. 50/kg. Small quantities of Penaeus kerathurus are landed in the Mediterranean, valued at about Mor.Dh. 30/kg.

1 Mor.Dh. 4.00 = U.S.$ 1.00

1.3 Estimated demand

Per caput consumption has increased from 4.2 kg/y in 1973, to 5.2 kg/y in 1978. However, in coastal areas, such as Al Hoceima, per caput consumption is reported to be about 20 kg/year.

Demand varies greatly by species. The domestic demand for shrimp is good and there is a strong export potential. The demand for sea bass and sea bream is high in the country, with wholesale prices of Mor.Dh. 10–15/kg; even so, it is more attractive to export these fish from Melilla to Spain at a price of Mor.Dh. 25–30/kg.

There is a strong domestic demand for mussels, with prices of about Mor.Dh. 1/kg. Mussels are a traditional food in Morocco and are sold in the shell along the coast or as a dried product inland. Canned mussels are imported from Spain. There is also export potential and probably a limited market for high quality mussels of uniform size, which might be produced by aquaculture.

The domestic demand for oysters is limited, but there is an export potential. The price is about Mor.Dh. 30–40 for a box of 50 oysters.

The domestic demand for eels is limited, but elvers caught in Morocco are shipped live to Spain.


2.1 Commercial ventures

The only aquaculture ventures in Morocco at the present time are three private oyster farms in Oualidia, between El Jadida and Safi, south of Casablanca. Various species of oyster have been planted in Oualidia and other places along the Atlantic coast of Morocco, including: Crassostrea angulata from Cadiz, Spain, and from Tejo and Sado, Portugal; C. gasar from Senegal; C. virginica from Louisiana, United States; and C. gigas from Japan. At present, the production is entirely of C. gigas, which is grown from seed imported from Japan or from Arcachon, France. Oyster production was about 100 t in 1971, Beaubrun (1976), most of which was exported to Spain.

2.2 Current research and development activities

The Institut Scientifique des Pêches Maritimes is conducting experiments in oyster and mussel culture at Moulay Bou Selham near Larache on the Atlantic coast. Good growth rates have been reported for oysters, but not for mussels. A major problem is the availability of seed oysters, as there is little or no local reproduction of C. gigas, and because import from Japan in unreliable. Some C. gigas seed oysters have reportedly been obtained from Korea and if this is correct, there is a possibility of the introduction of a Minchinia-like disease organism which has been found in Korean oysters.

Mussel culture experiments were initiated by the Institute in 1976 at Cala Iris, near Al Hoceima on the Mediterranean coast. Small mussels collected locally were placed in plastic mesh tubes and suspended from floats, using the Japanese longline culture system. The array of floats has been anchored behind a small island off-shore, in an area which is subject to high waves periodically. According to available information, seed mussels 1–2 cm long grew to 6–7 cm in one year.

They have been unsuccessful in collecting seed mussels on ropes, although some have been found attached to the floats. This suggests the possibility of using floating synthetic ropes, such as those used as mooring lines for ships, as seed collectors. This system is used in Ston in Yugoslavia.

The Institute has not yet conducted mussel, clam or oyster culture trials at Mar Chica. Reportedly there are no mussels in Mar Chica. This may be due to the absence of suitable substrata for settlement, or because of the low phytoplankton level. The long-range plans of the Institute include mussel and oyster culture experiments in Mar Chica.

2.3 Institutional factors

The fisheries of Morocco are administered by the Office National des Pêches for marine waters, and the Administration des Eaux et Forêts for inland waters. Research, both marine and inland, is the responsibility of the Institut Scientifique des Pêches Maritimes. There is no separate institute for freshwater fisheries research.

The Office National des Pêches (ONP) handles resource and fisheries management for marine species and, in addition, may carry out commercial fishing operations or aquaculture where private interest is lacking. Some private fishing industry is developing and there are now three private oyster growers on the Atlantic coast. ONP has no aquaculture ventures, but is interested in encouraging the development of private ventures. Foreign investments are encouraged, but these must be with a Moroccan company or with ONP itself.

No lagoons in Morocco are presently used for valli-type fish culture. If such activities were started, several government ministries will have to be involved, but the decision to allocate a lagoon to a company, cooperative or group of fishermen, would rest with the governor of the province concerned. The general policy of the country is to encourage private industry but to restrict ventures which are not in the “public interest”. It might be difficult therefore for one group to obtain control over an entire lagoon.


3.1 Crustaceans

The potential for culture of crustaceans is limited and is not recommended at this time.

3.2 Molluscs

The greatest potential for aquaculture development appears to be in Mar Chica, a lagoon near Nador, with an area of 11 500 ha. The depth of most of this lagoon is 5–7 m, but a narrow band near the shore is less than 2 m. During the summer, salinities reach about 35 ppt with temperatures of about 25°C and dissolved oxygen at or near saturation levels. This lagoon appears to be a good site to try raft or “table” culture of oysters and perhaps mussels. Seed oysters might be obtained from France and seed mussels from various localities in this area. It is likely that both mussels and oysters would require depuration because of sewage contamination from the town of Nador. Considerable research would be necessary to determine the feasibility of oyster and mussel culture in Mar Chica. Growth and survival would have to be determined by planting experiments and bacterial levels in the product would need to be determined because the sewage from Nador is discharged into the lagoon. Additionally, red tide outbreaks at Cala Iris reportedly have made mussels toxic during the winter and toxicity in mussels and oysters would have to be checked at Mar Chica.

Various species of clams are harvested in this area and exported to Spain. This suggests the possibility of aquaculture of clams in the future when the technology for culture of these species is developed.

The use of Mar Chica for aquaculture would require maintenance of satisfactory salinity and circulation by controlling the interchange between Mar Chica and the sea. This would probably require deepening of the present channel and perhaps dredging of additional openings.

3.3 Fish

Mar Chica would also be a good location to try floating cage culture of fish, such as sea bass and sea bream. Salinity, temperature and oxygen levels appear satisfactory for culture of these species and the depth of water in a lagoon protected from high waves should provide a safe location for cage culture. Experimental culture of sea bass and sea bream would be essential to verify the suitability of this area. It would, of course, be necessary to determine the effect of fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture which might be carried to the lagoon by run-off water from adjacent farmlands.

There is also a possibility of culturing sea bass and sea bream in ponds constructed close to the sea at suitable locations along the Mediterranean coast, where satisfactory soils for pond construction can be found, or in sandy areas if pond bottoms can be sealed economically. There is, moreover, the possibility of using natural ponds near the sea-shore for fish culture.

Morocco has an abundant supply of elvers on the Atlantic coast. It is possible that these could be used for eel culture in ponds on the Mediterranean coast. The area near Nador might be a suitable site for this as the fishery for eels in Mar Chica is very good.


4.1 Limiting factors

The development of aquaculture has just begun in Morocco with oyster farming on the Atlantic coast. There is no aquaculture on the Mediterranean coast, but the Institute has initiated mussel culture experiments. It is obvious that much more information is needed concerning the hydrography of the Mediterranean coast and the species of fish and shellfish occuring there, to provide a good scientific basis for the development of aquaculture. Even then, the development of aquaculture will depend on the demand for aquacultural products at satisfactory prices and the availability of land and water areas for commercial ventures. Finally, as there is no tradition of aquaculture in the country, it is likely that demonstration of aquaculture systems and training of potential fish farmers will be necessary.

4.2 General programme requirements

It will be necessary to conduct biological experiments to determine if fish or molluscs can be grown successfully in Mar Chica. These should lead to feasibility studies of aquaculture systems for sea bass, sea bream, oysters, mussels and, eventually, clams. An economic analysis will be essential to determine the cost of production and marketing compared to domestic and export prices and demand. A sanitary survey will be required to determine the need for depuration of shellfish produced at various locations within Mar Chica. Finally, hydrographical and engineering studies will be required to develop a system for managing exchange of water between the sea and Mar Chica to maintain satisfactory levels of temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen. Evidently, the present channel should be dredged and perhaps one or two more channels should be added to provide adequate circulation.

The development of aquaculture in Mar Chica would require considerable scientific, technical and engineering effort but, at the present time, there is no government base for such studies. A local station or laboratory would have to be established for this purpose.

The culture of sea bass and/or sea bream in ponds located close to the sea should be a longer range objective for aquaculture development in Morocco. This would require a survey for selecting sites for pond culture, suitable from the standpoint of water quality, soils for pond construction and logistics. An economic analysis would be needed to determine the feasibility of producing sea bass or sea bream profitably within the price structure in Morocco and the export market. A small-scale test at a location on the Mediterranean coast would be needed to verify the applicability of culture methods developed elsewhere. Eventually, a hatchery for sea bass and sea bream would be needed to supply fingerlings for stocking ponds and also for cage culture in Mar Chica.

4.3 Recommended projects or actions

4.3.1 Feasibility of aquaculture at Mar Chica

For the development of aquaculture at Mar Chica, feasibility studies have to be designed and conducted. This could be done by the Institut Scientifique des Pêches Maritimes, with the assistance of a regional aquaculture project. Short-term assistance of specialists in fish and mollusc culture would be necessary to design the experiments. It would also be desirable for the same consultants to return periodically during the course of the experiments. If the experiments indicated good growth, survival and marketability of the test animals, pilot-scale experiments could be planned and conducted at selected locations.

4.3.2 Pond culture

Surveys have to be conducted to select suitable locations for pond culture of sea bass and sea bream and perhaps other species along the Mediterranean coast. This would require participation of experts in fish culture. If the survey indicated highly desirable locations, an economic analysis should be conducted to determine the probability of profitable fish culture at these sites.

Appendix 1


Casablanca-Institut Scientifique des Pêches Maritimes
Rue de Tiznit
 Azzou, M.,
 Belveze, Henri
Chief, Fisheries Division
 Berraho, Abdellatif
Chief of Aquaculture Laboratory
(accompanied the Mission during trip in Morocco)
 Gmira, Elhachmi
Microbiology Laboratory
 Poinsard, Frances
UNDP/FAO Fisheries Project on Estimation and Ongoing Monitoring of Marine Resources
-Office National des Pêches, Rue Chevalier Bayard
 Belgheti, Abdelaziz
Delegate at Al Hoceima
-Administration des Eaux et Forêts
 Rajad, Mohamed
Chef du Service de la Pêche
Al Hoceima-Governor of Al Hoceima Province
 Zakkouri, Bouchaib
Nador-Governor of Nador Province
 Oudghiri, Bachir

Appendix 2


Beaubrun, P., 1976 Les huîtres au Maroc et l'ostreiculture dans la lagune de Oualidia. Bull.Inst.Pêches Marit., Casablanca, (22):13–142

Brethes, J.-C. and M. Tesson, 1978 Observations hydrologiques sur la Sebkha Bou Areg (Lagune de Nador), Maroc. Bilan d'automne 1976 et d'hiver 1977. Trav.Doc.Dev.Pêche Marit., Casablanca, (24):17 p.

Erimesco, P., 1961 La mar Chica de Melilla. Bull.Inst.Pêches Marit., Casablanca, (7):3–11

Tesson, M., 1977 Régime hydrologique et hydrodynamique de la Sebkha Bou Areg (Lagune de Nador), Maroc. Bilan du printemps 1976. Trav.Doc.Dev. Pêche Marit., Casablanca, (21): 68 p.

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