We quantified the abundance of juvenile Pinna carnea at Turpialito, Golfo de Cariaco, Venezuela, using collectors suspended at 8 m depth for 16 months and then evaluated their subsequent growth in suspended enclosures over 14 months in relation to concurrent measures of temperature and planktontonic food availability. All body components showed a rapid increase during the first four-five months. There was a decrease in somatic tissue mass and great variability in growth coincident at first spawning, suggesting a negative effect of gonadal production on somatic growth. Amultiple regression analysis indicated a strong relationship between tissue growth and food availability as measured by organic sestonic matter. Although we determinated an adequated spat abundance for culture activities (80 spat per collector-30x60 cm), spat collection was limited, mainly from February through April. In addition to high variability in growth and negative influence of environmental factors during unfavorable periods, the muscles production required in 14 months, suggesting that P. carnea is not appropriate for commercial production of muscle. However, the high weight of all edible tissues mass attained (21 g) and the high survival rate in all experimentation (>96%) suggests thatP. carnea is fit for aquaculture.
Keywords: growth, spat production, bivalve, suspended culture, pinna carnea