Around 500 tonnes of European seabass and gilthead seabream produced annually
Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes visited the NaturaFish Alvor fish farm last month to learn more about the scope of the project, which produces around 500 tonnes of European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata).
Gomes was accompanied by local councillor João Gamboa and got to know in detail the work that is accomplished at the saltwater fish farm, located in the natural reserve of the Alvor estuary, with 19 hectares available for the project and 19 production tanks.
Portimão Council said that the project “benefits from natural conditions which are highly favourable to its activity” and “uses and develops state-of-the-art technology” to provide a “product of excellence”. The company’s goal is to provide fish for the national market, “namely fine dining cuisine”.
On its website, NaturaFish explains that the Alvor farm is a parcel fully licensed for aquaculture inside a bird sanctuary that is part of Natura 2000, the EU network of nature protection areas.
It adds that “the heightened level of environmental protection that comes from being inside the Natura 2000 park ensures the long-term preservation of the environment surrounding the farm, including biodiversity and water quality, both key to the production of fish.”
The company also says the Natura 2000 designation offers an environmental insurance protection against the biodegradation of the area surrounding the Alvor farm.
The company invests substantially in R&D and systems that allow it to operate at the “highest levels of efficiency”. The NaturaFish farm management system gathers data from each pond, allowing it to remotely monitor and in some cases control water renovation, oxygen levels, temperature, feeding activity, and pathogens.
The system is accessible 24/7 via a mobile app allowing remote monitoring and management. Automated SMS notifications inform of changes in conditions requiring the attention of a human, for example water temperature, water levels, or the suspected presence of pathogens, the company explains.
The system automatically responds to changes in conditions in each individual pond without human intervention. For example, when oxygen falls below a certain level, the system fires off the respective oxygen pumps until adequate levels are restored, at which point the pumps are automatically shut, it adds.
At the end of her visit, Isilda Gomes recognised the merits of the project and expressed her good wishes to the team behind it.