Aquaculture for all

IEO achieves world-first land-based bluefin tuna breeding

Tuna Breeding & genetics Land-based production systems +4 more

Researchers from the Murcia Oceanographic Center of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO, CSIC) have achieved, for the first time, worldwide, the reproduction of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) kept in captivity in a land[1]based facility.

a huge indoor fish tank
One of the IEO's tanks for housing bluefin tuna broodstock


The breakthrough took place at the IEO’s facility for the control of bluefin tuna reproduction (ICRA), which has four large tanks (two of 22 and 20 m in diameter and 10 m deep, and two smaller ones of 14 and 8 m in diameter and 6 and 3 m deep respectively) with a total capacity of 7 million litres of seawater.

It houses two bluefin tuna breeding stocks, one made up of 25 specimens hatched in 2017, and another with eight specimens hatched in 2018. As Aurelio Ortega and Fernando de la Gándara, the researchers responsible for the facility, have stated, this last stock was implanted on Thursday July 13 with hormones that induce final maturation and spawning.

48 hours later, a few hundred thousand fertilised eggs were obtained, and after 72 hours, close to 3 million, continuing spawning on the following days. This is the first time, worldwide, that bluefin tuna have been reproduced in captivity in a land-based facility.

The IEO previously closed the cycle of this species in 2016, but that was in floating cages in the sea.

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