Aquaculture for all

Yellowfin Tuna Research Advances at Achotines

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PANAMA - The Laboratory, located in Los Santos province, is owned and operated by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).

The IATTC is composed of 16 member countries, and the Commission’s scientific staff is responsible for studying the biology and stock structure of tunas in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO).

Fish Update reports that yellowfin tuna broodstock have been spawning at near-daily intervals at the Achotines Laboratory since 1996. This represents the only sustained spawning of any tuna species in landbased tanks anywhere in the world. The development of the yellowfin tuna broodstock was funded, in part, by the Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation (OFCF) of Japan. Yellowfin tuna eggs, larvae and early-juveniles are studied in a variety of experimental investigations at the Achotines Laboratory. This research is conducted by the Early Life History (ELH) Research Group of the IATTC. The main focus of experimental research at the Achotines Laboratory is identifying environmental and biological factors that influence pre-recruit survival of yellowfin tunas. Such information could prove to be extremely valuable for use in stock assessment of tuna populations.

In a series of recent publications, the IATTC’s ELH group has described the methods of broodstock development, reproductive biology, spawning dynamics, and early development of yellowfin tuna. Additional studies have been completed to describe the effects of key physical variables on growth and survival of yellowfin tuna larvae. The experimental program at the Achotines Laboratory has led to advances in the rearing of larval and early-juvenile tunas. The IATTC’s ELH scientists routinely rear early-juvenile yellowfin tuna up to 30 to 60 days after hatch for research purposes and have reared yellowfin tuna up to 100 days after hatch.

Accoridng to Fish Update, the ELH group conducts collaborative studies of yellowfin tuna biology with a variety of research organizations. At the Achotines Laboratory, collaborative studies are encouraged as long as their focus is on research, with a preference for tuna species. Recent collaborative projects have been conducted with Clean Seas Tuna (Australia) and Texas A&M University, and joint studies on yellowfin tuna are currently being conducted with Hubbs Sea World Research Institute (US), University of Miami, and Global Royal Fish (GRF) of Panama. In addition, the Achotines Laboratory has accommodated research projects on non-tuna species, such as ongoing studies of snappers conducted by the Autoridad de los Recursos Aquáticos de Panamá.

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