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Malta Also Working On Bluefin Broodstock

The Aquaculture research Section at Fort San Lucjan participates actively in research projects to breed marine fish species that have a high potential for aquaculture, namely the amberjack (accjol) and bluefin tuna (tonn). At present, Mediterranean farming of the amberjack and the bluefin tuna are capture-based; with the fish being caught from the wild and reared in cages or pens.

This three-year project is in its second year and over 150 million good fertilised eggs have been collected from the broodstocks of Spain and Italy, showing that the techniques for broodstock management and egg collection have been successful. This is a very big step ahead of the success in the previous fifth Framework project (REPRO-DOTT – Reproduction of bluefin tuna), where viable eggs were obtained and artificially inseminated, thus proving that bluefin tuna can mature and produce viable eggs and sperm in captivity.

Unfortunately no eggs were collected from the Malta broodstock in 2009 even though the same techniques as those used in Italy and Spain were used. There are strong indications that the Maltese broodstock spawned however the eggs were lost due to strong currents in the area. A different site with much less currents is sought after for more experiments in 2010.

Apart from the spawning cage, Malta is also responsible for a broodstock nutrition experiment, sampling bluefin tuna from the wild, egg distribution to other countries and larval rearing.

Robert Vassallo Agius is resource manager Aquaculture Fort San Lucjan ministry for resources and rural affairs.