Bluefin Tuna Farming Gaining Ground02 January 2009
JAPAN - Farming tuna, one of the staples of sushi restaurants, is an expensive and risky endeavour but some are prepared to take the risks.
In the Ozaki district on Tsushima island in Nagasaki Prefecture, a worker tosses Japanese sand lance and mackerel into one of the 80 round crawls set up in the sea, reports Asahi.
The calm water abruptly churns as the feeding frenzy starts among the 400 to 500 bluefin tuna splashing around in the fish preserve.
The bluefin tuna fish farm here is one of many sprouting up around Japan in response to the lowering of international catch quotas for the prized fish.
Industry insiders expect the harvest to reach to about 8,000 tons in 2009 – double the figure for 2007.
But farming the fish, which is one of the staples of Japanese sushi restaurants, is an expensive and risky endeavour.
"While our operation has finally taken off, our money is not accumulating at home, but is rather swimming in those crawls," said Yasunori Takarabe, the head of a cooperative of seven fish farms in the Ozaki district that have named their brand "Toro no hana."
"Anyone thinking about starting anew needs to take bold steps since about 100 million yen will be needed to sell 500 tuna in the third year," he said.