Keywords: shellfish culture, culture technologies, Chile, environmental effects, aquaculture, diversification, scallops, oysters, mussels, conservation, disease, fouling, borers, red tide, environmental variations
Shellfish culture in Chile
The present situation and future projections regarding shellfish culture in Chile are analysed. Production has increased exponentially, mainly of the 'Chilean mussel' Mytilus chilensis (Hupe) and the 'northern scallop' Argopecten purpuratus (Lamarck). At present, seven species are cultured, two of which were introduced. The total invertebrate production corresponding to cultures has increased from 1.6% to 38% over the last 15 years. The effects of the following factors on present and future levels of shellfish culture in Chile are discussed: disease, fouling, borers, red tide and environmental variations caused by the cultures themselves. Potential culture of approximately 70 commercially endemic species not only constitutes an economic option, but also favours their conservation.