Veta La Palma

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Veta la Palma is an aquaculture farm located on an island in the Guadalquivir river, 10 miles (16 km) inland from the Atlantic Ocean in Seville province of Spain. It produces 1,200 tons of sea bass, bream, grey mullet and shrimp each year. Given its 32 km2 area this gives a yearly yield of 37 tons per square kilometer. The fisheries have attracted more than 200 species of migratory bird, many of which are endangered.[1]


Isla Mayor, as the nerve centre of the marshlands on the Guadalquivir, has seen a long process of transformation over time due to both the natural evolution caused by silting and the effects of human activity. The first attempts to exploit the resources of the Isla Mayor date back to the 19th century, but it was not till the third decade of the 20th century that farming really began in the area, thanks to a comprehensive project carried between 1926 and 1928 by the British company Islas del Rio Guadalquivir Limited.

During the 1940s and 50s, the cultivation of rice became the main economic activity on the Isla Mayor del Guadalquivir, with rice fields occupying the northern half of the island (35,000 acres). In the southern part, however, extensive livestock farming in the fields owned by the Veta La Palma estate was the main activity until the end of the 1970s. In 1982, the Empresa Agropecuaria del Guadalquivir, owner of the estate since 1966, was acquired by the Hisparroz, S.A. group, which transformed it into Pesquerias Isla Mayor, S.A. (PIMSA).

After a brief introductory period, in 1990 PIMSA was authorised by General Directorate for Fisheries of the Andalusian Regional Government, following the Rector Plan for the Use and Management of the Doñana National Park (PRUG), to introduce fish farming to the area. Initially using 1,500 acres of the estate, the project was gradually extended to reach 8,000 acres. These are flooded with high quality waters which provide a habitat to the significant population of fish and crustaceans which reared on the farm. A further 8,000 acres are currently dedicated to the dry crops and 1,000 acres to the cultivation of rice. The remaining 12,000 acres are maintained to preserve the original biotope of the marshlands.


Aquaculture practiced in this farm supports a set of environmental services for hydrology and ecology of the marshlands of the Guadalquivir. Extensive and semi-extensive aquaculture has attracted a range of nesting and migratory species of birds. The total bird population of Veta la Palma can reach a figure of 600,000 covering some 250 different species, of which some 50 suffer some degree of threat in other ares. As such the artificial wetland habitat created on the estate plays an essential part in the conservation of European birds by guaranteeing food both for species which complete their development cycle from birth on the island before migrating and those which, during the course of migration between Africa and Europe stay on the area temporarily to find food.


  1. ^ Abend, Lisa (June 15, 2009). "Sustainable Aquaculture: Net Profits". Time Magazine. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 

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