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Oceanic Tuna Reach Out on Yellowfin Research

Welfare Water quality Breeding & genetics +7 more

SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish based aquaculture company, Oceanic Tuna Limited (OTL,) has announced two new partnering arrangements with the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the University of Stirlings Institute of Aquaculture (IOA).

Oceanic Tuna Limited says that these arrangements are to prepare the way for an ongoing research program and the development of their two commercial projects.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the IATTC at the beginning of March, is based on a research programme on yellowfin tuna developed by OTL that is being implemented in conjunction with a planned Scottish based research and commercial pilot for albacore tuna. The IATTC is based in La Jolla, California, with research facilities at Achotines Bay, in the Republic of Panama, and is widely regarded as a world leader for research on tuna biology, tuna spawning and early life history studies.

This partnership will allow OTL to proceed with its own research centre in Panama, as well as a commercial project for sustainable yellowfin tuna aquaculture. Whilst OTL is in discussions with several groups about finalising a location for their commercial operations, Panama is an obvious choice as OTL will already have a research presence there and it allows for closer collaboration with the Achotines Laboratory.

The MOU signed with the IOA is a step forward in the development and transfer of knowledge to the United Kingdom for tuna. This will allow OTL and the IOA to work closely on the development of a pilot project on albacore tuna, aimed at bringing a new aquaculture species to Scotland. Ongoing research work on albacore will improve OTL’s existing methodologies and allow OTL to transfer these across to the main target species, which is bluefin tuna.

Alex Muhlholzl, Managing Director of OTL, says that these partnerships are a significant step forward for OTL. OTL will get the advantage and expertise of the IATTC’s 15 years of knowledge and experience in yellowfin rearing and biology, whilst the Achotines Laboratory will have access to OTL’s technology and research facility in Panama. The IOA will provide experts on reproduction, nutrition, pathology, health and welfare, genetic management, and environment. It is rare for a business of OTL's size to gain access to the calibre of expertise that the IOA will bring to these projects, and to OTL’s commercial operations.

"These relationships will work to the benefit of OTL, the IOA and the IATTC. With our technology, together with the expertise of the IATTC and the IOA, we expect to have a facility in Panama that will allow vital ongoing research into the yellowfin tuna’s juvenile life cycle," said Mr Muhlholzl. "One of the main obstacles to progress in the rearing of tunas has been the direct and indirect effects of walling, causing very high mortality amongst tuna juveniles. OTL is hoping that its planned research facility in Panama will contribute to the Achotines Laboratory’s exceptional work in tuna early life history research by improving the survival of yellowfin tuna past the crucial 100 day mark."