Thursday, August 7, 2008

Raising Bluefin

The 28 Pacific bluefin we have brought back from the wild, have
arrived and acclimated to their new home at the Tuna Research and Conservation
Center. The staff at the center led by Alex Norton have been working to
get the bluefin tuna to feed. The new fish are shy at first- but are schooling
with some old tutors- two fish that have lived in the TRCC for over a year.
These two "Feeder" fish are aggressive at taking the food so this helps stimulate
the fish that are new to feed. The bluefin upon entering the TRCC fed twice a day, a diet of sardines,herring and/or squid. The food has to be very fresh and in the early days the keen eye of bluefin even in juveniles is observed. We actually took fresh anchovies from the bay to help stimulate feeding. Now that both tanks and almost all of the fish are over the hump, we're getting back to routine feedings.
We feed every other day- and its quite exciting to have our own tanks of tuna that regularly display a frenzy of action when feeding. One learns a lot watching them.
We now have transferred the fish into our T2 and T3 tanks- each tank with about 14 young bluefin take the sardines and squid. The first observations we're going to conduct this year are to ask how do bluefin react to changes in temperatures. We will let one tank be at ambient temperatures (about 59-60 F), and a second tank will be kept a bit warmer (75-77F). Should be very interesting. In the image above the feeder fish- the teaching fish is the large, darker bluefin in the lower left corner.

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