Fish farm beeding success

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
29 March 2007, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - Eyre Peninsula aquaculture pioneer Clean Seas Tuna is claiming a major breakthrough in its bid to breed southern bluefin tuna by inducing male fish to release sperm at its Arno Bay breeding farm.

Clean Seas chairman Hagen Stehr said it was a major step towards achieving the company's long-term goal of breeding and growing tuna.

"It is the first time in the world that reproductive maturation of southern bluefin tuna has been achieved under controlled conditions," Mr Stehr said.

The breakthrough was achieved using hormonal therapy developed in Europe to mimic the natural production of hormones by wild fish. "This was one of the big steps," he said. "If you haven't got sperm you can't go any further."

The next major step would be to have females produce eggs at the onshore site, which Mr Stehr said he hoped would occur within days or months.

The courtship behaviour and release of sperm by the male tuna was videotaped underwater.

The broodstock will continue to be monitored and the hormonal therapy may be repeated to help the females produce eggs.

Mr Stehr said the breakthrough was a significant achievement only three months after commissioning the facility and moving its fish from the ocean.

"While we still have some way to go to reach our ultimate goal, we have made giant strides in the past week," Mr Stehr said.