Tuna farming

image from www.warren.usyd.edu.auAlthough still in the very early stages of development, tuna are being farmed in an increasing number of locations around the world. According to smartaqua, tuna are being farmed in South Australia (Thunnus maccoyii), Croatia (Thunnus thynnus), Japan (Thunnus thynnus), Spain and Portugal (Thunnus thynnus), Mexico (Thunnus thynnus, bigeye (Thunnus obesus), yellowfin (Thunnus albacares)), and Canada (Thunnus thynnus).

The Government of South Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Resources have identified the farming of Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) is currently the single most valuable sector of South Australia’s aquaculture industry. Southern bluefin tuna farming is unique to South Australia and its development in 1991 initially put South Australian aquaculture on the map.

Tuna farms are not always universally welcomed – the WWF reported:

On Sunday, 2 February 2003, a local referendum on the island of Vis, Croatia, stopped a new tuna-farming project from taking off. The community’s response is the first of its kind in Croatia. WWF applauds the community’s and local NGO Sunce’s firm stand against an activity which is damaging the environment and decimating the already over-fished wild tuna in the Mediterranean.

Croatia is the leading producer of farmed tuna in the Mediterranean, after Spain. In 2001, Croatian production reached 3,000 tons from its eight farms. A new tuna farming project was presented to the inhabitants of the island of Vis, in the Adriatic, as the only alternative for their economic future. When the community was invited to participate in a referendum on the issue, their vote was an emphatic “no” – 88% of the voters were against the project.

Other reports identify tuna breeding and farming in Croatia has been an economic success and thanks to the investments of Croatian expatriates, tuna farms have started cropping up along the coast. The fish are being bred in cages. The results after five years is that tuna farming seems to be one of the most successful investments in Croatia, and the domestically bred tuna has already become world-famous.

Several Kali fishermen from the island of Ugljan invested in a somewhat unknown field of fish-farming: tuna farmed in cages. The business was set up in 1995 with an initial capital of $2 million Australian dollars, with a further $5 million spent on the purchase of cages, fishing boats, and other infrastructure. It was the only farm of its kind in that part of the Mediterranean. Farmed tuna is becoming one of Croatia’s best-known export products.


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