Aquaculture for all

SEAFDEC aims to secure mackerel tuna broodstock

Tuna Husbandry Sustainability +7 more

In a bid to establish the tuna farming industry in the Philippines, an international research organisation has collected juvenile wild mackerel tuna with the aim of producing a captive-bred population.

Researchers capturing tuna.
SEAFDEC aims to produce the first captive-bred tuna in the Philippines

© N G Armada

As part of continued efforts to establish a tuna farming industry in the Philippines, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/AQD) has captured 17 wild mackerel tuna to be used as broodstock.

Researchers from SEAFDEC captured the fish, commonly known as kawakawa or tulingan, in an otoshi-ami fish trap with assistance from the Barbaza Multipurpose Cooperative, before transporting the fish to the organisation’s facility in Tigbauan, Iloilo, where research concerning kawakawa reproduction has been occurring since 2020.

“The kawakawa juveniles will be kept in our hatchery where we hope they reach maturity and lay eggs. It will be another breakthrough for us if the eggs hatch into the first captive-bred tuna in the Philippines,” said SEAFDEC/AQD Chief Dan Baliao, in a press release announcing the project.

In order to assure minimal stress to the animals, the planning and transportation processes involved meticulous planning. After a three-day conditioning period to prepare them for confinement and a five-hour trip, each kawakawa - averaging between 200 to 250 grams - was individually placed in plastic bags before being transported to the shore and stocked in customised transport tanks.

Throughout the journey, water parameters such as temperature, salinity, bacterial count, and dissolved oxygen levels were monitored hourly. The implementation of these stringent handling and transportation protocols proved a success, with a high transport survival rate, and no additional reported mortalities after three days post-transport.

Currently, 25 new kawakawa are being reared by researchers at SEAFDEC/AQD, with two mature kawakawa collected as juveniles last year and now in close monitoring for their possible spawning of viable eggs.

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