Apart from selling bass and bream fry to both Italian and foreign farms, Acqua Azzurra in Pachino, Sicily uses about 20% of its hatchery production for its own farming activity.
In cages on an offshore plant several miles off the coast, Acqua Azzurra produces around 1800 tons of bass and bream per year, sold and delivered to demanding retail clients such as Coop Italy.
The relatively small, but highly qualitative volumes of fish are harvested on demand as the orders come in. The fish is immediately processed, packaged and delivered in refrigerated vehicles within 24 hours. Fish that has been harvested in the morning in the south of Sicily can often be bought in supermarkets in the north of Italy in the afternoon of the same day.
Because the entire production is based on fish that were born in the company’s own hatchery, detailed traceability information can be given. In the packaging department, the seals of origin and traceability are applied near the gills of each individual fish.
I see 4 major factors influencing the quality of the harvested fish: fry quality, feed quality, density and weather conditionsNouira Mohamed Faouzi Offshore manager Acqua Azzurra
Acqua Azzurra’s farming activities are run in 30 offshore cages (soon expanding to 34) with stocking densities of around 42.000 fish per cage. The strong sea currents off the Sicilian coast make the fish extra strong and resilient.
Varying with weather conditions and the time of year fry are introduced into the cages, the farming team achieves an average FCR of 2,15. Through further optimization 1,9 is considered a realistic future goal.
In correspondence with the demands of the market, Acqua Azzurra’s grow-out cages produce around 60% bream and 40% bass. The total annual production volume revolves around 1800-2000 tons annually.