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In A Big Leap Forward For Sustainable Fishing, Company Spawns Natural Bluefin Tuna

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SAN DIEGO, California -- It's a key goal in sustainable fish farming: ensuring that a population of fish is breeding naturally within their holding pens. Now Umami Sustainable Seafood, a holding company of fish farming operations supplying sashimi-grade Northern Bluefin Tuna to the global market, has obtained DNA evidence confirming natural spawning of Bluefin Tuna at its Kali Tuna facility in Croatia.

Larvae hatched from eggs, collected from Kali Tuna's holding pens on July 19-21, were analyzed by genomics laboratory Macrogen Inc. They were confirmed to be Bluefin Tuna. Further tests conducted on the larvae's mitochondrial DNA determined that they matched their gene base, establishing that natural spawning activity had taken place within Kali's brood stock holding pens. This is the third consecutive year that natural spawning activities have taken place in Umami's Croatian commercial tuna farming facility, Kali Tuna.

Eggs were collected from one of several brood stock cages containing 84 mature five-year-old fish. The fish were not treated with hormones but, over the years, have been closely managed by Kali's scientists. This is the largest documented spawning in Kali Tuna's cages to date. The eggs were placed into an incubator and hatched. The larvae are being used for further research and development.

Kali Tuna has made a significant investment growing over 1,000 young tuna into mature brood stock at its aqua farms in both Mexico and Croatia to help replenish the Bluefin tuna population. This is likely the world's largest brood stock holding, with the goal being to release hundreds of millions of fertilized eggs and fry back into the wild every year.

This spawning event is a major step forward for the company's hatchery project. Having a reliable and predictable supply of eggs is essential to the success of the company's propagation programs. Earlier this year, Kali Tuna started work on building the world's first mobile tuna hatchery, one that will incorporate the latest equipment and technologies while being cost effective.

"This event marks a major milestone in our company's ultimate goal of building a commercially viable closed-life-cycle Bluefin Tuna farming operation," said Oli Valur Steindorsson, Umami's Chairman and CEO. "For three consecutive years at our Croatian facility, we have spawned Bluefin tuna in captivity in a natural way. 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 the fry, these results prove that our experience, and our understanding of the species, is paying off. I am now more confident than ever that we will be able to dramatically increase the world's access to this highly valued food source, without any degradation in quality, while, at the same time, decreasing the pressure on the world's wild populations."

See Umani Seafood for more information.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

5 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

   comment# 1   - Sharron Deason · Goodyear, USA · Aug 5, 2011 @ 12:35pm

It it is truly exciting to see nature take over. Keep up the great work. We are needing more food than ever and your doing your part to make tuna sustainable. Thank you!
   comment# 2   - Jennifer Barnett · Dearborn Heights, USA · Aug 5, 2011 @ 7:49pm

what govs. need to do is impose a moratorium on the tuna...each pound of farmed tuna, i believe, requires three pounds or more of smaller fish as feed. if you tihnk removing the top predators is bad, just wait till you see what happens when you remove the little ones at the bottom of the food chain
   comment# 3   - redhouse · usa · Aug 8, 2011 @ 8:50am

Tuna farming is an ecological disaster! Although this may seem like good news, it doesn't actually mean sustainability. Comment #3 redhouse is right on. This is like totaling the car, but saving the cup holder.
   comment# 4   - Jack Trevally · Columbia USA · Sep 21, 2011 @ 9:00pm

Most of this article smacks of a spin on the truth . In Northern Mexican waters.. Mexican purse seiners capture immature bluefin.. and transfer them to grow out Pens. When they triple in size due to force feeding techniques, they are flash frozen and overnighted to Tokyo.. To feed these fish.. the Mexicans have decimated the forage fish populations not exclusive of anchovie,, sardine..mackrel, ,and market squid.I have seen video of Mexican seiners wrapping up a bluefin school.. 30 ft from the stern of an American sportsfisher stopped on a school.. Hey..its their water.. we fish it on a permit basis. All is not rosey as far as bluefin farming here on the West Coast.
   comment# 5   - Kevin Henderson · Sun City CA USA · Sep 29, 2011 @ 9:11pm
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