Tongoy oysters achieve organic and environmental sustainability certification

23 May 2021

The project was financed by the Regional Government of Coquimbo (FIC-R), executed by the Santo Tomás University and lasted for more than two years.

One of the objectives of Corfo’s Transforma MÁSMAR program is the generation of certifications of different types of fish products to improve the competitiveness of the sector. Thus, the project called “Sustainable Aquaculture: regional oyster industry”, an initiative presented and executed by the Santo Tomás University (UST), was framed within the projects of the Innovation Fund for Regional Competitiveness (FIC-R).

The objective of the research was to gather information on the competitive advantages of the farmed oyster, coming from the bays of Guanaqueros and Tongoy (Region of Coquimbo), which culminated in two important certifications granted by international organizations.

On the one hand, the team achieved certification from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), which corresponds to one of the most demanding aquaculture sustainability certifications within the industry worldwide, whose certification process was audited by the British company Lloyd’s. Register. This certification establishes the bases for sustainable aquaculture, whose standard includes around 120 criteria to accredit the productive and environmental sustainability of companies. The project managed to certify the companies Ostimar (Tongoy) and Aguamarina (Tongoy).

Regarding this, the Director of the project, Antonio Vélez, expressed that “this fills us with pride, since we have worked for many months with these producers to comply with the 122 Criteria that the ASC certification has, working, training and advising them. We are very happy, both for the large producers and for the artisans, who are even the first in Chile to achieve this accreditation, producing on a small scale ”.

On the other hand, a second process was related to the Organic Certification of the products, which focused on the analysis of different variables. In the first place, it was in charge of certifying the quality of the product itself, through bacteriological studies, of heavy metals, among others. A second line of analysis was related to the quality of the waters, which, in the case of Tongoy and Guanaqueros, have a privileged quality compared to other productive areas.

Finally, a third line of studies focused on the nutritional properties of the northern oyster, which qualified its functional quality, evidencing it as a healthy food, with a low cholesterol level, a high contribution of vitamin B12, among other attributes. Regarding this certification, whose process was audited by the Organización Internacional Agropecuaria (OIA), of ASC and Organic certificates, which is a pride for Small-Scale Aquaculture that has been developed in Tongoy more than 25 years ago. As for the large producers, specifically Ostimar, it only comes to demonstrate the seriousness, and a look of sustainability, with which this company develops oyster aquaculture in the same bay, with a committed and expert human team, taking advantage of natural conditions. from the bay, certified for the cultivation of this species”.

Gregorio Rodríguez, Corfo regional director, indicated that “these initiatives are of great relevance. The quality of the waters is known, therefore, of the products extracted from the Bay of Tongoy, but that they have an international certification that accredits it is a support for the activity that our oyster farmers carry out every day. There is no doubt that the industry is on the right track and that the products have everything to target international markets ”.

In this sense, the contribution of the Transforma MÁSMAR program consisted in the linking of public and private entities, and with the research teams among themselves, which generated a positive synergy between the actors that converge in the scientific-productive development of the fishing sector and aquaculture of the Coquimbo Region.

Source: Mi Radio