(L-F) IEO and Acuamed directors have signed a collaboration agreement for the conservation of bluefin tuna. (Photo: IEO)
Spanish researchers collaborate in bluefin tuna conservation plans
Monday, July 04, 2011, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
The Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and the state-owned water company Aguas de las Cuencas Mediterráneas (Acuamed) have agreed to collaborate in bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) breeding and farming in a new center to be built near Valdelentisco desalination plant in Murcia.
The cooperation agreement between the two parties was signed by IEO Director Eduardo Balguerías and Acuamed general manager, Carlos Massa.
Under the signed agreement, the desalination plant collecting and dumpling facilities, which have been owned by Acuamed and operated since 2009, will provide sea water to the future breeding and farming center for this tuna variety in captivity, which will be constructed by IEO.
IEO will filter and purify seawater until the quality required for bluefin tuna farming is obtained, and then it will be returned to the sea.
"This will ensure a more efficient use of the resources and at the same time the achieved temperature will be beneficial to the reproductive process in a more sustainable way," IEO explained.
In Mazarrón Bay port, a kilometre away from Valdelentisco, IEO has a desalination plant, a larvae culture and fish breeding center. In the future, these facilities will be optimized to produce bluefin tuna larvae.
"The proximity of the juvenile specimens’ migratory routes will facilitate, after the pertinent authorizations, their capture and transfer to IEO facilities to be used as future breeders," IEO added.
For the Spanish Government, larval culture is one of the most interesting research lines for aquaculture to have all the necessary juvenile bluefin tuna in captivity for their production.
Valdelentisco plant has a production capacity of 50 hm3 and required an investment of EUR 220 million.
On the other hand, Balearic Oceanographic Centre scientists from IEO left a couple of weeks ago onboard the fishing vessel Tio Gel, owned by Balfegó company, to conduct an oceanographic study of bluefin tuna.
The study will also be joined by researchers from the Coastal Observing System in the Balearic Islands (Socib) and from the Department of Marine Technologies, Operational Oceanography and Sustainability (TMOOS) of Imedea (UIB-CSIC).
Scientists are seeking to obtain the necessary data for parameterization and validation of models to predict the location of spawning areas and bluefin tuna larval survival rate in the Balearic Sea.
Experts expect this model helps to implement management systems to optimize tuna exploitation and promote their populations’ health.
By Analia Murias