| The buildings include a
hatchery, post-larval and early juvenile rearing
structure, and a basket-culture system used to prepare
the abalone for their grow-out phase.
The seawater system includes a protected man-made channel, with a maximum depth of 4 meters, that allows pumping of seawater, which is filtered in the process, during any weather condition. The filtered seawater then flows to a reservoir system of 360 cubic meters. Seawater is gravity-fed to the culture facility.
Two reservoirs ensure uninterrupted seawater supply to the culture system, and to the hatchery. The area is sparsely populated with no industrial development and with a water temperature ranging from 11º to 22º Centigrade (the highest in September and the lowest in January).
Production starts with spawning of ripe cultured abalone brood-stock. The abalone are induced to spawn with the hydrogen peroxide method (Morse, 1977).
After washing the fertilized eggs, they are placed in the hatching tanks. After 24 to 30 hours, the newly hatched swimming trocophore larvae are transferred to a system of 200 liter culture tanks. Larvae remain in the flow-through culture system for the next five days. The hatchery has a capacity to produce over 25 million larvae ready for settlement.
At the age of seven days, the larvae are introduced into an indoor system of 200, 270 liter fiberglass nursery tanks. Larvae feed consists of cultured microalgae, produced on the premises, which include the benthic diatoms Navicula incerta and Nitchia spp. If a microalgae film does not develop properly in the tank, an inocula of diatoms is added. Microalgae film growth is managed by controlling the amount of light that the tank receives by covering and uncovering it with plastic netting of different mesh size.
After approximately 5 months, when the abalone have complete their post-larval and early juvenile development, the abalone are transferred to an outdoor system consisting of 800 tanks. Each tank receives filtered and UV irradiated seawater. The water enters the upper level tanks and flows to the remaining three tiers and then returns to the ocean.
When the abalone reach 10 mm in size, they are collected and sorted and then transferred to a basket-culture system.
The basket-culture system consists of a group of twenty-one 2,000 liter concrete tanks plus seventeen 10,000 liter concrete tanks. These tanks can hold up to 400 baskets with 2,500 abalone per basket. In this system, abalone are fed with kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. In this system, we have the capacity to produce an average of 2.5 million juveniles per year.
When the abalone reach a size of 16 mm, they are then transferred to the grow-out system.
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