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ITALY - Scientific First Could Save Threatened Tuna

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Author Topic: ITALY - Scientific First Could Save Threatened Tuna  (Read 22 times)
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« on: September 24, 2008, 07:51:58 am »


               THUNNUS THYNNUS

                                    Italy: Scientific first could save threatened tuna

Bari, 25 July (AKI) - An Italian university has made a major scientific breakthrough in regard to farming the highly-sought red tuna which is threatened with extinction.

For the first time in the world, scientists at Bari University in the southern region of Puglia have cultivated the larvae or eggs that may make it possible to save the species and enable commercial farming to take place.

Research for the project known as 'Allotuna' was conducted by the university's faculty of veterinary medicine and financed by Puglia's regional government.

The researchers say they have successfully produced 20 million larvae from tuna in captivity.

Gregorio De Metrio, who specialises in the anatomy of aquatic and domestic animals, supervised the project.

"It is the first time that we have obtained a result of this magnitude, after so many years of research conducted by several European countries," De Metrio said.

"This success allows Italy, and Puglia in particular, to play a central role in this important area of applied research."

The regional government of Puglia allocated 1.3 million euros for the research project which has already yielded positive results before its completion.

Stefano Daniele, a entrepreneur in a local fish farming company Panittica Pugliese, welcomed the results of the research.

"Tuna farming is now possible only with tuna captured at sea that weigh at least one kilogramme," Daniele told Adnkronos International (AKI).

"Until now we lacked the capacity to follow up the development of the egg in the larva and thus in the fish."

"It is the best result obtained at a European level and will push the Japanese to 'show us their research'," he said.

"We know that they are also conducting research in this field but we do not know what results they have achieved."

Daniele said if the research results are confirmed, the first tuna larvae could be ready for commercial production as early as next year.

He also said there was huge potential for international exports, particularly in Japan.

"The Japanese already prefer tuna that is grown in captivity. In fact they impose their own feeding rules in order to produce better tuna," Daniele said.

"The price of a good tuna is 30 euros per kilogramme, but some 200-300 kilogramme tuna have been auctioned for up to 60,000 euros."

In June this year the European Commission imposed restraints on Italy, Cyprus, France, Greece and Malta to stop the fishing of red tuna because they had exceeded their quotas.

Italy was accused of exceeding the fishing quota which for 2008 was 4,116 tonnes.

The scientists say the research has delivered both environmental and economic benefits.

On the one hand, a species which was close to disappearing due to illegal fishing, is being saved and farming red tuna could revolutionise the fishing industry.

"Tuna farming is not harmful for the environment - on the contrary, farming the fish favours the wild repopulation of schools of fish in the high seas," Daniele told AKI.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2008, 08:01:38 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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