Sea cucumber, green macroalgae and fish culture in extensive systems (“esteros”)
The farming in Cádiz Bay is based on extensive fish aquaculture, allowing the entry of natural recruitment with tides, and later closing the “esteros” for fish fattening, with periodical water renewal through floodgates equipped with nets to prevent the fish escapes. Fish grow fed exclusively on natural benthos, being caught at the end of autumn or early winter. The main commercial species produced in this polyculture system are mugilids, seabream, seabass and sole, plus eels, crabs and shrimps.
The fish production in these systems should be improved to increase its profitability through an adequate management, but also with investments for innovation focused on diversification of target species and development of polycultures and/or Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) systems. Sea cucumber, as deposit-feeders and species with high commercial value in Asian markets, are optimal candidates to be used in IMTA systems. Dr. Wangüemert already tested and demonstrated during her work as Principal Investigator in CCMAR (University of Algarve, https://ccmar.ualg.pt/users/mwanguemert) the high growth, productivity and economical profit of co-culture systems including the sea cucumbers Holothuria arguinensis and Holothuria mammata, the macroalgae Ulva lactuca, and the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus.
Under this framework, WANGUMAQUA SLU is starting a project on fattening of sea cucumber juveniles in co-culture with green macroalgae and seabream/seabass, being all them common species in this geographical region and “esteros”. This project is located in “Molino Santa Cruz estero” and “San Enrique” salterns in Cádiz (South Spain).