Veta La Palma’s aquaculture farm is nowadays an essential part of the ecosystem of Doñana. Primary production in the marshland’s sub-aquatic environment is limited to sustainable levels whilst the artificially created ponds are richer and more stable than the original wetlands which disappeared as a result of silting and active desiccation.
Aquaculture crops contribute to maintaining a positive state of conservation in Doñana’s wetlands, whilst the breeding ponds within the marshland areas which surround them constitute a spatial and trophic resource of vital importance for Doñana’s wildlife. Thus, for example, there are thousands of coots and waterfowl which reproduce in the National Park, but many of them have not completed the breeding process when the natural marshlands dry up, so as a result they move en masse to the Veta la Palma estate, where the carefully managed artificial wetlands can provide the conditions they required to complete their annual cycle in terms of space, food, and tranquillity.
Furthermore, the Veta la Palma aquaculture facility is a key asset for the socio-economic development of the area of Doñana. The farm, which began operating in 1982 with only 4 employees, currently generates some 100 direct jobs and many others which are indirectly related. As such, thanks to the economic benefits it generates and the territorial implications of its management, the farm has become an essential element in the entrepreneurial fabric of the Doñana area.
During the spring migration period (February – March), Veta la Palma is occupied by numerous species of waterfowl which use the ponds of the fish farms and the surrounding marshland as a temporary haven for feeding and rest.
Between July and October, after the mating season, the amount of waterfowl and wading birds registered on the estate is very significant in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Early migrating species such as the shoveler (Anas clypeata) and the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), arrive in the area when there is still insufficient water in the rest of the marshlands of Doñana. During this period of the year, Veta la Palma is the only adjacent area of wetland which can guarantee the food and shelter they require in order for these bird populations to survive.