Bluefin tuna eggs. (Photo: Fernando de la Gándara, IEO)
Official endorsement for SELFDOTT reproduction of bluefin tuna project
Monday, February 28, 2011, 03:20 (GMT + 9)
The Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water of Murcia will sign a cooperation agreement to support the SELFDOTT project (Self-sustained Aquaculture and Domestication of Bluefin Tuna), in order to reproduce captive bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) using aquaculture techniques.
This was announced by the head of the Secretary General of Marine Affairs, Alicia Villauriz.
The signing of the agreement - coordinated by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) - will take place next week.
Involved in this project are 13 government institutions, research institutes and industry associations from France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Norway and Spain.
The official stressed that Murcia is a pioneer in the development of bluefin tuna aquaculture.
Through the SELFDOTT project, researchers will attempt to complete the production cycle for tuna in order to avoid dependence on capture fisheries thanks to new research.
Villauriz stated that "the union between administrations, science, industry and nongovernmental organizations is the best combination to meet the challenges arising from the compromised state of the bluefin tuna population."
She stressed the progress related to the knowledge of the biology of bluefin tuna, that will give scientists the tools to make more accurate assessments and form the basis for decision making, clarifies a press release by MARM.
In the European Union (EU), Spain has led the adoption of measures for the recovery and conservation of this resource, and has demanded strict compliance with them.
In November 2010, a team of researchers from the IEO did, for the first time in Europe, adapt captive juvenile bluefin tuna in land-based facilities.
So far, this has only been achieved with four species of tuna in Japan, Australia and the United States.
The project is carried out by the scientists Fernando de la Gandara and Aurelio Ortega, as well as the technicians Juan Ramón Prieto and Javier Viguri, of the tuna farming team from the IEO.
The project will take place in the Marine Cultivation Plant of the Oceanographic Centre of Murcia, where they managed to adapt 20 juvenile bluefin tuna - caught off the coast of Murcia - to ground facilities.
- Another step forward in the domestication of bluefin tuna
By Analia Murias