Project code: 212797
Contract period: 01.01.2008
Budget: 2,980,000 Euro
Purpose of research: Basic research
SELFDOTT proposes to implement knowledge already obtained on the artificial control of reproduction of the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT), Thunnus thynnus, to obtain viable eggs, and study embryonic and larval development for the production of fry (juveniles). At the same time, suitable and environmentally performing feeds for the growout of BFT will be developed, thus reducing or eliminating the practice of raw fish importation and feeding by the fattening industry.
Wild juvenile and mature BFT will be reared in captivity at two sites in the Mediterranean, and will be used to study puberty, gametogenesis, and the influence of diet on reproductive maturation and gamete quality. Mature fish will be induced to spawn using hormone implants and the eggs will be collected using devices designed specifically for cages. To establish the knowledge-base for controlled development of BFT larvae, the mesocosm and artificial larval rearing methods will be employed. The ontogenesis of essential biological functions will be studied, including environmental perception, digestion, immunity and behaviour. A protocol for the commercial-scale larval rearing of BFT will be recommended at the end of the project.