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Researchers Raise Captive Sardines For Tuna Bait To Save Stocks

Raising sardines in captivity to use as live bait for wild tuna is the vision of a Brazilian project that hopes to prevent predatory capture of the natural reserves of the species.

The project was developed by researchers at the University of Vale do Itajai, and envisages tuna fishing vessels to use the captive bred sardines as bait for their catch. Especially pole and line fisheries are totally depended on the availability of live bait. The sardines are used to attract the sardines to the surface. Once they are starting to bite for the live silvery sardines and get into a frenzy,  they will confuse the hooks of the poles for sardines, and bite the hook.

To date, approximately 8,000 breeding specimens have grown from fingerlings in the Laboratory of Fish Culture on the coast of Santa Catarina state in southern Brazil.
“The success of this action, scheduled for this month, crowns eight years of research in the area of production of live bait,” said Gilberto Caetana Manzoni, one of the researchers responsible for the initiative.
He explained that the project is a response to the need to reduce fishing pressure on natural stocks of sardines, with variations in the quantities caught by overfishing.
“With the possibility of the production of the species in captivity, tuna vessels no longer need to go to the sea to find sardines for bait, which will also generate savings in time and fuel,” said the specialist. He explained that boats will leave the harbor with live bait in their tanks.
According to those responsible for the project, currently around 1,200 tons of live bait is used for fishing each year, of which a huge 800 tons is sardines.