Bluefin Tuna Tricked Into Spawning

Australian aims to overcome fish shortage by simulating breeding grounds
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2008 7:22 AM CDT
Fishermen unload a bluefin tuna in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, Canada, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007.    (AP Photo/Andrew Vaughan, The Canadian Press)
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(Newser) – A seafood entrepreneur thinks he can solve the world's bluefin tuna shortage by making the fish feel frisky, Time reports. German ex-pat Hagen Stehr, the baron of a $230-million Australian seafood empire, is simulating the tuna's breeding grounds in a hatchery—a "fishy virtual reality" with 14 hours of daylight and water at 73°F—and has succeeded in harvesting fertilized eggs from bluefin breeding stock.

But the domesticated tuna offspring is still a ways off. "Out of 10 steps, we're probably at No. 3 or 4," said one company manager. Naysayers abound, but one Australian expert says "it's only a case of when." Marketing the farmed rather than wild bluefin could be a challenge, he adds, "but how can you not sell fish when there's a worldwide shortage of the good stuff?" (Read more tuna stories.)