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Japan progressing on commercially viable system to breed and farm bluefin tuna
November 29, 2012, 04:25 PM
A number of Japanese companies are looking for ways to turn the planet's environmental challenges into new business opportunities, in line with growing concerns about climate change and the global availability of food.

Toyota Tsusho Corp., a trading company under the Toyota Motor Corp. group, is working with Kinki University to develop a commercially viable system to breed and farm bluefin tuna. The project, now under way on the island of Fukuejima, in the Goto archipelago in Nagasaki Prefecture, is the first of its kind in the world. It offers hope for sushi aficionados, because it could finally resolve the problem of overfishing.

Japan consumes 80% of the world's bluefin tuna catch. The nation is now under growing pressure from environmentalists, who are concerned about the possible extinction of the species.

Kinki University has developed a technology to hatch fish eggs. Toyota Tsusho raises fish fry supplied by the university until they are young fish measuring 25cm to 30cm long, before selling them to fish farmers.

Under traditional tuna-farming practices, farmers catch small fish in the sea and raise them to adulthood in pens for periods of about three years.

The use of fry hatched from eggs in tuna farms reduces the catch of natural bluefin. This in turn helps preserve wild tuna stocks, which have been dwindling due to commercial fishing techniques and the skyrocketing global appetite for sushi. Only one in every 2 million eggs grows to become an adult bluefin.

It is difficult to farm juvenile bluefin tuna. Toyota Tsusho is still trying to build up expertise on a range of matters, including the best feeding times and the optimal fry density when transporting fish from the university.

In 2011, 15,000 fish fry were shipped from the farm on Fukuejima, which has 10 pens, each measuring 30m in diameter. The company hopes to increase the number of fish fry to 50,000 in two to three years.

Source: (seafood.com)
Kim Thu
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Specialist on Tuna market
Ms Van Ha
Tel: +84 24 37715055 (ext. 216)
Portal of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP)
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