Farming of bluefin tuna – reconsidering global estimates and sustainability concerns

Journal Article

Abstract: Increased global demand for bluefin tuna has triggered unsustainable fishing and many wild stocks have seen dramatic declines. Improved fisheries governance is now slowly stabilizing many stocks and recently bluefin aquaculture has emerged as an economic alternative route for supplying the market. Most of captured bluefin tuna directly enters the global seafood market, but an increasing part of catches are destined to aquaculture (17–37%) as bluefin aquaculture almost exclusively depends on wild specimens for stocking. Farming is mainly being performed in the Mediterranean region, Mexico, Australia, and Japan. Few studies have focused on the global importance and future role of bluefin aquaculture and there are confounding uncertainties related to production volumes and trends. This study provides an overview of global bluefin tuna aquaculture and identifies its direct and indirect interactions with wild fish stocks, outlines some of the challenges for future expansion as well as pointing out significant mismatch of production statistics.

Citation: Metian M., S. Pouil, A.M. Boustany, and M. Troell. 2014. Farming of bluefin tuna – reconsidering global estimates and sustainability concerns. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture 22(3):184-192.

Keywords: aquaculture, fattening, production statistics, governance, small pelagic fish