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Modest success for Spanish bluefin hatchery


December 17, 2014
By Siri Elise Dybal

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Spain’s Futuna Blue continues to make headway with its tuna hatchery and the transfer of fingerlings to offshore cages in Mediterranean waters.

 Over 1,300 tuna from the project were successfully weaned at Futuna Blue, transferred from a diet of live feed such as copepods to dry pellets, in this case provided by Skretting.

 Some 500 or so fingerlings from the project are now held by the Spanish company, some in on-land tanks but most in sea cages owned by the Balfego Group.

 Though two-thirds of the fingerlings perished in the process of being transferred to the sea cages, it’s still considered somewhat of a success in the bluefin tuna sector.

 A survival rate of 30% for such a ten-hour transfer is to be expected and is inline with results seen in Japan, said Transdott’s coordinator Chris Bridges.

Futuna Blue, one of the European Transdott program commercial partners, developed its copepod rearing system which is used for bluefin larval rearing. It’s based on the Bent Urup recirc model used at a number of other European facilities.

 Bent Urup told Hatchery International recently that he’s followed events at Futuna Blue quite closely.

 “They’ve had good success over the last several months,” Urup said.

 The Spanish private equity-backed mariculture firm owned by Australian, Danish and Spanish investors is relying on a larval feeding technique, based on home-grown copepods, to commercially produce the bluefin tuna (BFT) fingerlings. The goal is to produce half-a-million fingerlings a year for the fledgling European BFT farming sector, according to press announcements by the company.

 Though not alone in trying to rear BFT in hatchery conditions, Futuna claims to have a few discoveries others don’t have. Urup, a former CTO of Akva Group, has done extensive research with BFT and helped develop the bluefin spawning facilities at Clean Seas Tuna in Australia while at Akva. The Danish equipment maker supplied and installed technology for Futuna Blue.

 Urup is one of the owners of Futuna. Other backers include Invercia, the investment vehicle of the Junta de Andalucia, Banesto Enisa Sepi Desarrollo, Spain’s Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs and the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology.

 Erich Luening


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