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Hatching of amberjacks not small fry

MALTA - The 10,000 amberjack (accjoli) fries swim unconcernedly in tanks at the Malta Centre for Fisheries Sciences (MCFS) at Fort San Lucjan in Marsaxlokk or in a pen at Marsaxlokk Bay. They are ignorant that they represent a breakthrough in aquaculture research.

Yet, Rural Affairs and Environment Minister George Pullicino and Parliamentary Secretary Frans Agius are fully aware of what the centre has achieved, when they they showed the media around tanks containing the 20-gramme fish, yesterday.

According to the minister, the centre will not sit on its laurels as it is gearing up for the Herculean task of breeding tuna, a feat achieved only in Japan.

The rearing of amberjacks is the MCFS’s latest attempt at diversifying the aquaculture industry that has until now focused on breeding sea bream (awrat) and sea bass (spnott).

Mr Pullicino explained that Tunis, Libya, Israel, Cyprus, Italy and Spain have tried hatching amberjacks, but they had had no success. “That is why this result is not just satisfactory but rather phenomenal,” he said elatedly.

Dr Robert Vassallo Agius, who is overseeing the project, explained how the research was looking at the various aspects of breeding, such as nutrition, reproduction and handling of eggs.

Source: TheMaltaIndependent

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