Thursday, June 13, 2013

URI firm developing techniques for tuna aquaculture

Yellowfin tuna swim in a tank University of Rhode Island's Bay Campus in the first U.S. effort to breed tuna in a land-based aqua farm, the university said.

"Worldwide demand for tuna increases yearly, even as tuna stocks are dwindling precipitously," Terry Bradley, a URI professor of fisheries and aquaculture said. "What we're trying to do is produce fish in captivity and take the pressure off the wild stocks."

Bradley and Peter Mottur, director of Rhode Island-based Greenfins, are working to develop techniques to raise tuna from egg to harvest-size while creating a new sustainable industry in Rhode Island.

Bradley and Mottur's efforts to get a few wild-caught tuna to spawn in the URI tank have been challenging, the university said. Because tuna are long-distance migrants that swim at great speeds, acclimating them to a 20,000-gallon, 20-foot-diameter tank has been difficult. Once fish spawn and eggs hatch, the microscopic larvae must be fed live food raised on site then weaned from live food to a dry, formulated feed.

"It's a sustainable project that we hope will create green technology jobs here in Rhode Island to leverage the great intellectual capital we have in the state," Mottur said. "We've already developed a partnership between URI and my company, and we hope to take it from the research phase to the commercialisation phase once we demonstrate tuna breeding and larval rearing success."

Enhanced by Zemanta
English: Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in...
English: Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  1. Have spawning and larval rearing been achieved and replicated on a reliable basis? If not, it is quite premature to call this a sustainable project. The key word in this press release is "hope."

  2. I agree. 'Sustainable' is a tricky term to define and I think gets used a bit to easily in relation to aquaculture. It's interesting that some of the larger certification organisations prefer the term 'responsible'.