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Sturgeon and caviar could replace “king salmon” in Chile’s aquaculture

Thursday, November 26th 2009 - 13:12 UTC
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“King salmon” which for many years helped prop the Chilean economy could be coming to an end. Last November 15, following fifteen years of failed tests, finally white sturgeons were procreated in captivity for the first time in Chile.

The event is a milestone in perseverance and a great merit for aquaculture researcher from the University of Los Lagos, Dr. Juan Carlos Uribe who has been working for years in the project with resources from Chile’s Development and Promotion Office.

The research and tests begun in 1996 with the purpose of developing an industrial technology to enable the industrial production of sturgeon and the much coveted caviar which is extracted from the fish’s eggs.

“After fifteen years of investigation we had these specimens here and finally they managed to reproduce”, said Uribe from Parral where the experimental farms are located.

“That was the missing step. The project is most interesting for Chile given the price of caviar, and of sturgeon fillets, and even more interesting since it’s a species in extinction process”.

Sturgeon is a considered a living fossil: they have survived since the time of the Dinosaurs having conserved their prehistoric aspect. Fossilized remains have been found in rocks dating back 54 and 40 million years, according to Dr. Uribe

Chilean researchers believe that sturgeon could repeat the “king salmon” experience for Chile. “Now we can move into the commercial stage” said Uribe who was also one of the promoters of the commercial success of salmon for Chile.

“Caviar can cost anywhere from a thousand to 2.000 US dollars a kilo, A sturgeon can grow to weigh 200 kilos, but the harvest of caviar begins when the fish weighs ten kilos”, said Uribe who added that “the ratio is more or less one kilo of caviar for ten kilos of sturgeon”.

Categories: Fisheries, Latin America.

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  • Jeff

    I am glad to hear that Sturgeon are being farmed in Chile for 2 reasons. Now you do not depend on one specie and Sturgeon will be farmed where wild stocks will not have the pressure.

    Nov 27th, 2009 - 02:40 am 0
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