Japanese Firms Increase Tuna Aquaculture Efforts
Responding to shrinking bluefin tuna quotas worldwide, Japanese firms plan to increase aquaculture efforts of the prized species. In Japan alone, an estimated 10,000 metric tons of bluefin will be farmed next fiscal year, running from April 1 to March 31, 2010. Maruha Nichiro, Kyokuyo and Nissui Group produce one-third of the total farmed bluefin in Japan.
Maruha Nichiro, through subsidiary Maruha Nichiro Seafood, announced plans to operate a bluefin farm in Kushimoto starting in the second quarter of 2009. The group budgeted more than $10 million for 16 large enclosures at the farm, with the first harvest in fiscal year 2011-12 at an estimated 500 metric tons. Maruha Nichiro will harvest the fish once they reach 88 pounds.
In addition to Kushimoto, Maruha Nichiro Holding owns eight other bluefin tuna farms, which will also be expanded to reach total production of 3,200 metric tons in fiscal year 2011-12.
Nissui Group, through subsidiary Nakatani Suisan, spent $3.2 million this fiscal year to add fish enclosures in Kagoshima. Nakatani breeds young tunas in its Oki and Shikoku nurseries, to be moved when they reach 2 pounds to farms in Amami and Koshikijima. Nakatani harvests its tunas at 110 pounds.
Starting last year, Nissui also experimented on cultivating tuna from eggs fertilized in captivity, although it won’t be adopted commercially until the project reaches maturity.
Kyokuyo Marine Farm takes a ranching approach. Wild tuna fry are caught off Kochi to be fattened at its farm in Sukumo. Kyokuyo projects it will produce 110 metric tons of ranched bluefin this fiscal year.