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Bluefin breed project boosts share values

AUSTRALIA - Following recent financial success with its Kingfish operation, news that Clean Seas Tuna expects to start producing Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) fingerlings early next year has sent share prices skywards.

Share values for the Port Lincoln-based company hit $2 yesterday after being at 57c per share a year ago, and there are high hopes for the tuna breeding project, which realises a dream for chairman and founder Hagen Stehr.

Speaking after the company's annual general meeting in Adelaide, Mr Stehr said he could not be 100 per cent certain of success, but everything was pointing to it.

"The females are full of eggs, you can see it, but they need to release them naturally," he said.

Clean Seas managing director Marcus Stehr said that the company was working towards breeding SBT fingerlings in late January and throughout February and everything was on track for a natural spawning event after Christmas.

If Clean Seas was successful in producing SBT fingerlings in the third quarter of 2007-2008, it was likely to undertake a capital raising in 2009. This would enable Clean Seas to start full scale commercial production of up to 10,000 tonnes of southern bluefin tuna at Arno Bay from 2011 onwards.

Further acquisitions planned
Shareholders have also voted to buy Clean Seas Aquaculture Grow out from the Sterh's Australian Tuna Fisheries. The $12 million deal will further consolidate the business.

Commenting on the business Hagen Stehr said the kingfish operation was rapidly becoming a major business in its own right.