Open up any Spanish cookery book and there it is: a meaty fish usually cooked with its skin; in one recipe baked Aragonese style with garlic, lemon, brandy and sweet pepper; in another served in a garlic and herb tomato sauce. The besugo known in Latin as Pagellus bogaraveo and in English as blackspot seabream is a traditional fish on Spanish tables and also savoured on others in Greece, France, Italy and Germany. However, this deep-water species was fast turning into something of a luxury due to overfishing until a company in the fishing region of Galicia embarked on a EUREKA project to find a way to make them affordable for ordinary families.
Isidro de La Cal-Fresco, which farms all kinds of fish in A Corua in Spain, decided in 1997 it should start producing blackspot bream as well. "When we gave up farming salmon, we began to think about producing a fish which would thrive in our local conditions," said Isidro's Aquaculture Division Director Antonio Lopez-Pizarro y Vilar. "We begun searching local species with high market values and finally we decided to try with besugo," said Lopez-Pizarro. But its efforts to farm the fish initially showed only that it was a far trickier affair than farming its brother the gilthead sea bream, also known as the dorada. Less than one percent of the fish bred survived and many of them had deformities. Breeding blackspot was going to involve a great deal of know-how, which was probably why no other European fish farm was doing it. Isidros Aquaculture Division Director Antonio Lopez-Pizarro y Vilar realised developing a breeding method for the fish was a commercial gamble but if successful his company would be the only one in the market initially.
With help from EUREKA, Isidro found funding and two specialist partners one a fellow Spanish company called Luso-Hispana de Acuicultura which had reared blackspot larvae before, and a Norwegian partner called Nutreco Aquaculture Research Centre which develo
|Contact: Piotr Pogorzelski|