One of Japan's largest seafood companies, Maruha Nichiro Holdings, Inc., is reported to have taken the lead in developing a functional Bluefin Tuna farm that actually protects natural tuna stocks. Unlike most tuna farms that catch wild fish and fatten them on farms, Maruha's farmed tuna is bred from eggs.
So the question is: Will a whole new segment in the farm-raised fish industry be developed if firms like Maruha are successful?
Guam has a number of private farms that have benefited largely from methods of acquaculture introduced to the island several generations ago. And local pond operators have kept pace with demand through changes in the industry over the years. Given legal access to waters suitable for tuna farming, it's possible that Guam's fish farmers could adopt successful tuna-farming practices that are both profitable and sustainable.
This is encouraging news for those concerned about dwindling tuna stocks in the Marianas and for consumers as well. If Maruha is successful in tuna farming, it appears that the demand for tuna could conceivably be sustainably met, with the help of fish farms -- as companies like Maruha provide a safe supply of farm raised tuna. Maruha plans to begin selling their farm raised bluefin by 2013.
The tuna stock situation is becoming so dire in parts of the world that Monaco, for example, with the support of the United States, announced that it will push to classify the Atlantic bluefin tuna as an endangered species at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The next CITES meeting will be in March of 2010 and held in Doha, Qatar.
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