Clean Seas reports tuna breeding milestone

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 17th March 2011

Southern Bluefin TunaAquaculture company Clean Seas Tuna has reported a successful transfer of its young Southern Bluefin Tuna to offshore cages, marking a significant milestone in the company’s pioneering work breeding the fish in captivity.

The young tuna, known as fingerlings, are now 8-10cm long, and have been weaned onto a specially-developed manufactured diet. 90 of the small fish were transferred to 25-metre offshore cages, with a similar number remaining in onshore nursery tanks.

The transfer is a marked improvement on the company’s results with last year’s breeding cycle, where no fish survived beyond 38 days.

The Southern Bluefin Tuna, along with its northern counterpart the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, are two of the most sought-after fish in the world, with single fish regularly fetching five figures, and have never successfully been bred in captivity. With worldwide populations of bluefin tuna crashing, the progress of Clean Seas’ research has been closely watched.

“This is the world’s first transfer of Southern Bluefin Tuna fingerlings to the ocean,” said Managing Director of Clean Seas Tuna Clifford Ashby.

“It is another significant step forward for us. It is not only a critical stage for Clean Seas Tuna but also places Australia at the forefront of technological initatives being undertaken in global marine aquaculture.”

“The pioneering nature of the breeding program means that every stage produces a challenge for our skilled production, research and development and grow-out teams, and we are closely monitoring these fingerlings with great anticipation.”

In addition to the transfer, Clean Seas reported that its broodstock had recommenced its spawning cycle, paving the way for further research.

“The resumption of spawning this month provides the company’s excellent production and research and development teams with the opportunity to put into practice the lessons learned from the first spawning, and to further improve on our survival rates,” said Ashby.