Fish farm breakthrough that could save the bluefin
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; twice commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigative journalism. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Monday 08 August 2011
The prospect of farming the endangered bluefin tuna from eggs to fully mature adults has come a step closer with the first natural mass spawning of the species in captivity.
A brood stock of bluefin tuna, used in highly-prized sashimi, have produced millions of eggs that have hatched into larvae at a research facility on Croatia's Adriatic coast operated by a US fish-farming company.
Umami Sustainable Seafood of San Diego said it was the first time that bluefin tuna in captivity had reproduced naturally without being treated artificially with hormones. It may soon be possible to rear bluefin tuna entirely on fish farms without taking them from the wild, the company said.
Umami already "farms" bluefin tuna by capturing young fish in the wild and raising them to adults in pens.
"Although we still have a lot of work left to do in achieving our ultimate goal of developing economically viable processes of raising fish from fry, these results prove that our experience, and our understanding of the species, is paying off," said Oli Valur Steindorsson, Umami's chief executive.
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