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FP7

TRANSDOTT Result In Brief

Project ID: 311904
Funded under: FP7-KBBE
Country: Germany

Domesticating Blue Fin Tuna

Tuna comprise the most valuable fishery in the world, but most stocks are now considered fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted. Funded by the EU, fish biologists addressed this problem by investigating the rearing of tuna in captivity with “closed cycle “aquaculture.
Domesticating Blue Fin Tuna
In the Mediterranean Sea, the most valuable species is the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (BFT). Increasing demand for this unique fish has resulted in an industry based on the capture of wild fish and their fattening in cages over a period of several months. They are then slaughtered and sent fresh or frozen to the sushi and sashimi markets in Europe, Japan and the USA.

The aim of the TRANSDOTT (Translation of domestication of Thunnus thynnus into an innovative commercial application) project was to build on the work of previous EU initiatives and translate them into a commercially viable working protocol for tuna aquaculture.

Scientists took an established broodstock of 30+ BFT, placed them in a broodstock cage and fed them an enhanced diet to improve spawning quality. Sea temperature was also monitored using data loggers at different depths in the cages. In addition, all fish were tagged and biopsied and a ′trawl-net′ type of egg collector installed outside the cages, which used the currents to collect the eggs. Offspring could then be assigned to individual parents thus establishing a “farm to fork” traceability.

Contamination of eggs by alien species, such as Sarda sarda (Atlantic bonito) and Auxeis rochi (Bullet tuna) posed a major problem. This was resolved by physically removing the faster growing alien species by hand from the larval rearing tanks.

Better broodstock resulted in higher fecundity and better-quality gametes, giving healthier, stronger viable larvae with lower mortality rates during the larval rearing period. The successful use of copepods as a live feed also improved survival rates for larvae.

The success of TRANSDOTT will enable the development of a self-sustained industry that will propagate BFT in captive conditions, rear larvae and produce fingerlings for further grow-out. This will reduce the pressure on the wild BFT fishery and aid in the species’ conservation.

Related information

Keywords

BFT, Tuna Aquaculture, Domestication, Tuna Propagation, tuna fishery, blue-fin tuna, TRANSDOTT, aquaculture, broodstock, egg collector, larvae, copepods, conservation
Record Number: 182808 / Last updated on: 2016-05-26
Domain: Environment
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