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Port Stephens Southern Bluefin Tuna breakthrough

AUSTRALIA - The future of the critically endangered species Southern Bluefin Tuna is looking brighter with the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute announcing it successfully reared the iconic species to juvenile stage.

Minister for Primary Industries, Steve Whan said: “There’s no doubt this is a magnificent breakthrough and it’s great it has been made here in NSW.

“Industry & Investment NSW researchers at Port Stephens are proud to be part of a collaborative research program with the company Clean Seas Tuna and other partners in the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre.

“Last night the Seafood CRC tuna breeding program was a winner in the Cooperative Research Centres of Australia awards 2010 in the category of ‘Innovation arising from the application and use of research’.

“This follows international recognition with Time Magazine listing “tank bred tuna” as the second-best invention in 2009 which indicates the global significance of the achievement.

“While only small numbers of fish were produced, this success and other achievements from Clean Seas Tuna and collaborators, has confirmed hatchery production of Southern Bluefin Tuna is possible.

“It also confirms the potential for increased aquaculture production and raises the prospect for future stock enhancement of this highly valued species.

“The next critical milestone is achieving reliable, large-scale production of juveniles.”

I&I NSW Aquaculture Research Leader, Dr Geoff Allan said the national progress with Southern Bluefin Tuna has been outstanding with maturation of broodstock, controlled spawning, larval rearing and juvenile production successfully achieved.

“This success is a triumph for Clean Seas Tuna and founding Director Mr Hagen Stehr. They have turned their vision to breed Southern Bluefin Tuna into a reality,” Dr Allan said.

“The I&I NSW team, led by Research Scientist, Dr Stewart Fielder, has been successful in rearing juveniles because of innovative thinking, strict adherence to defined protocols for live food production and tank hygiene and extremely hard work.

“The research demonstrates what can be achieved by genuine collaboration and I&I NSW is proud to remain involved in solving key remaining challenges to large-scale hatchery production of Southern Bluefin Tuna.

“Hatchery production and aquaculture is the only way to meet increasing demand for tuna and seafood in general.”

The state-of-the-art marine fish hatchery at Port Stephens is one of four hatcheries involved with the program with Clean Seas Tuna hatchery at Arno Bay, the South Australian Research & Development Institute hatchery and the Northern Territory Department of Regional Development, Primary Industries, and Fisheries and Resources hatchery. Other contributors to this exciting program are the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Flinders University, and the University of Tasmania.

the Fish Site Editor

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