Clean Seas: successful world-first tuna transfer

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 11th April 2011

Southern Bluefin TunaAquaculture specialist Clean Seas Tuna has reported a new milestone in its pioneering Southern Bluefin Tuna research, reporting a succesful transfer of its young tuna into sea cages.

After last month’s world-first succesful transfer, the company has followed with a second batch of 60 young tuna fingerlings. A total of 85 juvenile tuna are now living in the company’s sea cages, with Clean Seas reporting that they are feeding extremely well and have grown to around 15cm in length.

The company’s research marks the high-tide for research into captive breeding of the world’s most expensive – and possibly most threatened – fish. A single adult bluefin tuna regularly fetches five figures in Australian dollars, and the world record sits near $400,000 – 32. 5 million yen – for a single 342kg Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.

The mortality rate during both transfer programs was 2%, which Clean Seas says was well below high mortality rates encountered during similar nursery-to-sea transfers during early-stage aquaculture breeding attempts in northern countries.

While separate additional spawnings have occurred since the second spawning began in mid-March, the company said numbers of eggs have not been sufficient to produce commercially. Instead, these spawnings will enable the Company’s production and research and development teams to continue their research work on the larvae, and no further transfers to sea will take place this year.

Clean Seas said its broodstock will now be rested for the coming season’s spawning, based on the need to transfer some mature broodstock from the at-sea cages to the on-land facility late in April, providing adequate time for conditioning prior to the coming spawning season.

“We have made substantial progress with successful transfers to sea cages and selection and development of manufactured feeds which are being well accepted by the juvenile cohort. We have learnt a number of lessons from the current season on which the company will continue to build as it advances towards full commercialisation,” said Clean Seas Tuna Managing Director, Clifford Ashby.