Clean Seas reports young tuna going strong

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 25th February 2011

Southern Bluefin TunaClean Seas has returned a stronger-than-expected half-yearly result, with the company’s kingfish business generating cash flow for the first time.

The company’s after-tax loss for the half year ending December 31 was $9.3 million, compared to $14.1 million in the previous half-year, and the company said it expects a positive impact on earnings in the current half year due to the nature of the lifecycle of the fish produced.

The company attributed its results improvement to operational initiatives and cost-saving strategies implemented in 2010, and Managing Director Clifford Ashby said that the improvement would have been greater still were it not for the strong Australian dollar.

In particular, the business’ Kingfish business underwent renovation, with reduced production volumes matching market demand, and cost-cutting bringing the arm into the black for the first time.

The company also gave an update on this year’s attempt to successfully raise bluefin tuna in captivity, announcing that some of its tuna fingerlings are now 33 days old and will soon be transferred to a nursery tank. Last year, no fingerlings survived beyond 38 days.

Clean Seas said that its current Southern Bluefin Tuna round has shown results better than the same stage in previous years, but said that challenges remained in the pioneering work.

“Southern Bluefin Tuna spawning commenced on 20 January 2011,” said Ashby. “From this spawn, the company has successfully reared larvae, with the oldest currently at day 33 post-hatch. The oldest fingerlings are being transferred to nursery tanks today, with to-sea transfer aimed for mid-March.”

“In the event of unsuitable sea conditions and/or temperatures, the company also has the option of continuing the grow-out phase in the new land-based Arno Bay nursery tank facility. The Southern Bluefin Tuna fingerlings are currently consuming Kingfish larvae and are soon to be weaned onto man-made feeds.”