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Live Tuna Airlifted Into Clean Seas Breeding Facility

Aquaculture company Clean Seas is airlifting Southern Bluefin Tuna from sea pens to its purpose-built on-shore breeding facility at Arno Bay.

In a complex airlift, up to 10 southern bluefin tuna, weighing as much as 200 kilograms each, are being lifted from the sea by helicopter and then lowered through a five meter by five meter access hatch in the roof of the giant breeding facility.

In March, Clean Seas successfully spawned tuna for the first time and subsequently, produced SBT fingerlings - opening the door for commercial aquaculture production from the company's next scheduled spawning in October/November 2009.

Clean Seas chairman Hagen Stehr AO said transferring additional mature tuna to the on-shore breeding facility meant the company could be very sure of adequate egg supplies.

“We have already achieved continuous spawning by our captive southern bluefin tuna broodstock over more than a month,” he said.

“We have achieved a major breakthrough in aquaculture technology and we anticipate even better results from our next spawning as a result of what we have learned and continue to learn about husbandry procedures, diet and fingerling management,” Mr. Stehr said.

The fish were being airlifted now because of the seasonal compatibility of ocean and tank water temperatures, and to give them six months to integrate with the breeding cohort.