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Marine Science



Norwegians successfully pen bluefin tuna. For several years, marine scientists have tried to live-stock the world’s largest tuna, the bluefin tuna.

The breakthrough came recently when the researchers from the Institute of Marine Research, the fishing boat ‘Vestbris’ and the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate’s ‘Fjordgyn’ managed to catch and transfer one bluefin tuna from the seine to a self-developed transport cage, which they towed ashore.

“It is a great honour to finally succeed! We have learned a lot already. Now we hope to be able to scale up the experiment with a larger catch during the week,” says project manager from the Institute of Marine Research, Manu Sistiaga.

Being able to store the huge bluefin tuna, alive in cages is a kind of holy grail for the fishery. It is done in the Mediterranean, but under completely different conditions.

Through normal seine fishing, the bluefin tuna are difficult to handle quickly enough, and the quality deteriorates quickly. In addition, it is an advantage to be able to send the fish to the market little by little, instead of all at once.

Live storage can solve this. But there are many research questions.

“Now we know that we can achieve a controlled transfer from the seine to the transport cage, and we have documented that the bluefin tuna. are doing well in the transport cage, even after two days of being towed to shore,” says Sistiaga.

“The cage forms a large and deep pool. We are confident that we can have 50-100 fish in it,” he says.

Once on land, the researchers could inspect the cage, the fish and euthanise it in a controlled manner using electricity (another, related HI project).

Researchers from NOFIMA and HI then took a number of samples to find out more about the quality of the meat. The fish was delivered for reception at Domstein Fish on Måløy and will be sent to Oslo to test the market.

“In the long term, we must also look at how long mackerel sturgeon can stay in cages, how much feed they need and what temperatures they can withstand. But first we have to improve capture and transfer,” says Manu Sistiaga.

The researcher praises this year’s cooperation with the fishermen and the Directorate of Fisheries.

Image: Crews and scientists inspect the fish and the transport cage, which has been developed by HI engineer Jostein Saltskår. Do you see the 220 kg sturgeon? (Photo: Sølve Kvernøy, crew on “Vestbres”)