NSW DPI assists with world first breeding program

NSW Department of Primary Industries scientists have played an important role in making international aquaculture history, NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said today.

“NSW DPI is proud to be involved in the pioneering efforts by South Australian company, Clean Seas Tuna, to breed and rear Southern Bluefin Tuna,” Minister Macdonald said.

“For the first time anywhere in the world, the iconic, Southern Bluefin Tuna has been bred in captivity, opening the door for aquaculture based on hatchery reared juveniles.

“The Southern Bluefin Tuna is an icon species subject to international treaty, regulating catch using a quota system because of dwindling numbers.

“The research was successful in achieving a high degree of spawning in captive Southern Bluefin Tuna, resulting in the production of millions of eggs” Minister Macdonald said.

NSW Department of Primary Industries worked with the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre and Clean Seas Tuna during the research collaboration.

Other stakeholders in the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre included the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, South Australian Research and Development Institute, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Flinders University and the Northern Territory Department of Regional Development, Primary Industries, and Fisheries and Resources.

NSW DPI Aquaculture Research Leader, Dr Geoff Allan said the progress has been outstanding with maturation of broodstock, controlled spawning and early larval rearing successfully achieved.

“The success is a triumph for Clean Seas Tuna who have been committed to the project for several years,” Dr Allan said.

“NSW DPI’s role in the project has been to help develop technology to successfully transport eggs interstate.

“In this collaborative research effort, NSW DPI researchers, led by Dr Stewart Fielder, have also worked to develop new methods for rearing the larvae” he said.

Clean Seas Tuna put together a think tank of scientists from different disciplines and with different experience to increase the success of the research program.

“The research collaboration demonstrated what could be achieved by bringing together the foremost experts in marine fish breeding.” Dr Allan said.

“NSW DPI is proud to remain involved in solving key remaining challenges to make large-scale hatchery production of Southern Bluefin Tuna fingerlings for aquaculture a reality.

“The success of the program means there’s now potential to see captive Australian tuna aquaculture grow to a multibillion dollar sector, and help to meet increasing demand for seafood in general, and tuna in particular” he said.