Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Project

Reef Water Coral Farm

A Galician FLAG has supported the creation of Europe’s first commercial coral farm, growing approximately 5 000 corals annually and attracting school trips of children from around the area.


Vanessa Rodríguez had collected corals since she was a child but the difficulty of finding certain species on the market encouraged her to start her own coral breeding business. In 2013, with the help of the local FLAG, she turned this dream into a reality and set up Reef Water Coral Farm. This is the only such farm in Europe and taps into an increasing demand for coral products from the American and European markets.

The premises of Reef Water Coral Farm are located in Magazos, northern Galicia, in the garden of Vanessa’s old colonial-style house. The FLAG’s support allowed her and her husband to build a greenhouse in which they installed glass aquariums and a filtration system to ensure water quality. The couple dedicate themselves to breeding a range of corals (Anthozoa, Phylum Cnidaria and Scleractinia - also known as stony corals or reef formers). Corals feed at night and need constant care, so the farm's proximity to their home makes it easier for the couple to take care of them.

The corals are marketed in two different product lines, Corals, for individuals and professionals, and Seadreams, exclusively designed aquariums. Vanessa and her husband are already exploring new avenues for the future and, in collaboration with the faculty of chemistry of A Coruña University, have set up a research platform, Reef Water Medical, to explore new uses for corals, for example in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.


Reef Water Coral Farm has already developed the capacity to breed around 5 000 corals annually, exported or sold to individuals and specialized stores for between €5 and €130 a piece. Most of the production is sold online. The business has grown rapidly, allowing Vanessa to quit her previous job and work full-time on the coral farm together with her husband and to launch the second product line, Seadreams aquariums. The FLAG area now boasts a pioneering company which also opens its doors to local schools, raising awareness among children of the importance of coral reefs. 


The breeding of corals can be transferred to many kinds of areas since the important thing is not the project location but to having the appropriate infrastructure. It is, however, important to undertake an in-depth preliminary study to assess market demand for such a product and any specific regulations that may influence the activity.

Lessons & contribution to CLLD objectives: 

This type of project involves a high initial outlay and a significant amount of time to set up the facilities and for the corals to reach the maturity necessary to be able to market them. Moreover, the customers of this kind of business are very specific; in this case, the fact that the project promoter had previous knowledge and contacts in the sector helped speed up the company’s growth. Finally, one must not underestimate the degree of commitment required in coral breeding, including long working hours and even night care. 


Total project cost €60 694,05
FLAG grant €60 694,05
  • EU contribution (EMFF): €45 520,53
  • Public contribution (national): €7 586,76
  • Public contribution (regional): €7 586,76
Beneficiary contribution €45 653,69

Project information

Timeframe of implementation From Aug 2013 to Oct 2014
Sea Basins
Type of area


Reef water


Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Ms. María Del Mar López-Leitón Ramos
+34 982 56 33 55
Publication date: 
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