Monday, August 18, 2008

Bluefin Tuna: new advances in aquafarming

I recently posted a story about Tuna in the Mediterranean. Here's an interesting follow up in this week's TIME magazine. There is an article about the Bluefin Tuna found in the Indian Ocean between Australia and Indonesia (Click here to read article.). The tuna migrate through these waters to breed and because their migratory paths are predictable, their populations have been severely hunted, reduced to 10% of what they were in the 60s - all to meet the demands of the Japanese sushi/sashimi market. Okay, that's the bad news.

The good news is that one company, Clean Seas Tuna, lead by Hagen Stehr, is making progress in developing aquaculture techniques for tricking confined tuna into thinking they are in their happy mating grounds, enabling Clean Seas Tuna to gather fertile eggs for farming. The developed offspring could add to the levels of tuna currently being farmed in open water pens.

While Stehr has his skeptics, it is encouraging to see work continue in improving aquafarming techniques. To meet growing demand, advances will need to be made. Otherwise, many commercial species will continue to head towards eventual depletion.

P.S. - I'm always interested in what pops up in the general media, like TIME. It's an indication of what issues are being disseminated to the public at large. While we marine conservation advocates peruse our various web sites, blogs, and scientific sources, I also make a point of checking on publications as diverse as TIME and Fortune.

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