IPMA´s Olhão Fish Farm Pilot Station (EPPO) arried out several actions throughout the year 2023 involving the release or donation of fish produced in its aquaculture facilities.
The main objective of EPPO is to promote technology transfer to the productive sector, playing a crucial role in the scientific and technical training of human resources, both in a professional and academic context. The facility conducts comprehensive studies addressing aspects such as physiology, nutrition, pathology, and fish fattening trials in polyculture. The unit has an associated cage installed in an offshore environment that allows the conduct of fish farming tests in open waters.
"All of our projects aim at the country's food security and human consumption. Marine aquaculture using saltwater is a promising source of food, and we should consider it as a viable alternative," emphasized Pedro Pousão, the head of the station, to the "Barlavento" newspaper:
December 7 - Release of thousands of fish in Ria Formosa
A significant operation was carried out to release thousands of fish in Armona and Ria Formosa, with the fish being carefully transported aboard a cargo vessel from the Tunipex company.
The cargo included various species such as gilthead bream (Sparus aurata), croaker (Argyrosomus regius), and sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), all raised in captivity at EPPO.
August 2023 - Release of juvenile marine fish produced in aquaculture
At the end of August, thousands of juvenile gilthead bream (Sparus aurata), croaker (Argyrosomus regius), and sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) were released two nautical miles southeast of Cabo de Santa Maria on the coast of the Algarve. This release aims to contribute to the increase in the recruitment of naturally occurring species on our coast, which, due to their high economic value, face significant fishing pressure, especially during the summer months of amateur fishing.
For this operation, EPPO relied on the valuable collaboration of Tunipex for logistical support in transporting the fish from EPPO facilities to the port of Olhão and from there to the release site. The transport of live fish is a delicate and demanding operation, where perfect coordination of various steps is essential. The combination of IPMA technicians' knowledge with Tunipex's provided resources, including heavy equipment such as trucks and ships with cranes, as well as the high level of professionalism of the crew, enhances the fish's survival rate during transportation and in the sea, thus better fulfilling the goals of recruiting more marine resources.
Released Fish: 3203 gilthead breams weighing 85g; 1800 sea bass weighing 77g at around 8 months old; and 1800 croakers weighing 77g at approximately 5 months old. Access the video: https://youtu.be/uB3IidNF4po
July 2023 - Release of croakers
Also in July of last year, EPPO/IPMA released surplus croakers produced in aquaculture that were not used in research trials. This release aimed to repopulate and increase stocks for local fishing along the Algarve coast.
In these actions, 3525 croakers (Argyrosomus regius) weighing approximately 8g were released inside Ria Formosa. This fish size ensures greater success in their survival in nature.
1st Semester of 2023 - Donation of fish to social solidarity institutions
In recent months, the Olhão Fish Farm Pilot Station (EPPO/IPMA) donated around 500 kg of fish to various less privileged social solidarity institutions in the Olhão municipality. Among these institutions are the Portuguese Red Cross of Olhão and Moncarapacho/Fuzeta, the Celeiro de Amor Well-Being Group, the Holy House of Mercy of Olhão and Moncarapacho, the Our Lady of Fatima Well-Being Centre, and ACASO.
This donation allowed these institutions to provide their users with menus that included gilthead breams and sea bass from aquaculture, produced at EPPO.