Cultivos de moluscos bivalvos
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Bivalve culture in Argentina is beginning to develop commercially. Research was carried out at the North Patagonian gulfs (San Matias, San Jose and Nuevo)and focused three native species: the tehuelche scallop Aequipecten tehuelchus, the puelche oyster Ostrea puelchana and the common mussel Mytilus edulis platensis. Results achieved on each of these three species were different. In the case of scallops, the development of commercial aquaculture did not seem promising for many years due to the fact that production was sustained by natural populations: the dredge fishery of the San Matias Gulf and the diving fishery of the San Jose Gulf. Preliminary culture experiments dealt with larval fixation on artificial collectors and growth to commercial size on suspended system. The current collapse of the fisheries of this species in Patagonia revitalized the aquaculture perspective, stimulating the innitiation of projects dealing with spat production in hatchery. Research carried out with the puelche oyster focused on seed supply by means of artificial collection and hatchery production, and growth to commercial size on suspended and off-bottom system. Fixation levels on collectors were insufficient while very successful results were obtained in hatchery suggesting that this is the suitable alternative as a basis to commercial culture. The puelche oyster, as other similar flat oyster species, reached commercial size -- on both growing systems -- in 28-31 months. The oyster industry began recently by the installation of the first enterprise in the San Matias Gulf. The mussel is the only species with which a pilot production scale has been performed. The economical analysis of the culture suggests that this activity is profitable if based on natural seed collection and growing on Spanish system. Culture cycle can be completed in a one-year period. Research efforts have began focusing on other bivalves species: the yellow clam Mesodema mactroides, the Japanese oyster Crassostrea virginica introduced in Argentina in 1981, and the southern mussel Mytilus chilensis. Future development of bivalve aquaculture in Argentina will be possible with a firm governmental aid consisting mainly in the elaboration of a legal regulatory frame, an effective promotion of the activity and the performance of the sanitary protocols required by the international markets.