The program 'Center of Aquaculture Science and Technology for Bluefin Tuna and Other Cultivated Fish' was selected as the 21st Century COE Program in 2003.
Fisheries science includes a wide range of fields such as biology, chemistry,physics and socio-economics. Recently, there has been a tendency to perform more basic research than applied research. However, it is necessary to give more emphasize on applied research in order to advance the aquaculture industry in the world.
Until recently, the impact of the pollution from intensive fish culture on the local environmental was not considered. To address this issue we must continue to focus on developing technologies that minimize the impact of fish culture and promote sustainability. Against this background, our program intends to advance the efficiency and operation of the aquaculture industry by developing technologies for rearing (maturation, spawning, early development, nutritional requirements, dietary formulations, selection, fish disease etc.), environmental preservation, food inspection and management, and marketing and distribution. Since beginning we have built a partnership between fish culturists and researchers that led to the establishment of the 21st Century COE program. Another objective is to foster the development of young researchers to ensure the future of the global aquaculture industry.
The program was composed of four research groups that focused on a variety of areas as follows:
1) Seedling Production and Aquaculture Group
Promotion of mass seed production, development of aquaculture technology,and improvement of maturation, spawning, and rearing of Pacific bluefin tuna and other species by conducting physiological, biochemical, and selectivebreeding research.
2) Environmental Science for Aquaculture Group
Evaluation of the role of microbial community on larval fish, physical structures, environmental preservation, resource management, and fish density in fish culture operations.
3) Aquatic Feed, Quality and Safety, and Processing of Cultured Fish Group
Development of artificial diets, determination of the nutritional physiology and requirements of a variety of finfish, and evaluation of flesh quality,processing, and safety of cultured and wild fish.
4) Distribution and Economics Group
Economical assessment of the production and distribution of bluefin tuna and other fish, evaluation of the factors that effect market value and the economical effect of aquaculture on fisheries.
Although each group was focused on a particular area of research, all the groups worked collaboratively. This ensured a broad understanding of the issues faced by the aquaculture industry and allowed the groups to draw on the relevant expertise to address those issues.
As a result of the collaborative efforts of the groups, we successfully reared PBT throughout their entire lifecycle in 2002. The offspring of those fish spawned on 28th June, 2007, producing 3rd generation artificial seedlings. Approximately 1500 3rd generation juveniles were supplied to an aquaculture facility in December, 2007. This represents the first example of commercial seedling supply for the culture of tuna in the world. The demand for seedlings is one of thebiggest factors limiting the development of bluefin tuna aquaculture. Our success in mass seedlings production should relieve pressure on wild stocks and ensure the rapid development of bluefin tuna aquaculture.
Moreover, this program has provided an ideal environment to foster collaborations and advance the careers of a number of young researchers. To date,this program has arranged 14 national, 9 international symposiums, 121 inter-university seminars, and 7 science cafe's that were planned by young researchers. We have also been involved in research in Spain, Mexico, and Australia and have collaborated with researchers at Universiti Malaysia Sabah in Malaysia and Chonnam National University in Korea. Post-doctoral fellows,doctoral students, and the program staff attended international scientific meetings and symposiums held in 15 foreign countries. Most of the thirty six post-doctoral fellows employed by this program have secured positions in Universities and Institutes.
This program conducted a number of research activities that are not listed in this report. However, we expect to publish those activities in the near future.
This COE program was supported by a number of people. Financial support was provided by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, Government of Japan. We would like to express our gratitude and special thanks to those people who helped bring this program to a successful conclusion. We also request the support and guidance of all interested people and organizations for the continued development of the aquaculture industry.
Prof. Dr Hidemi KUMAI
Leader of the 21st Century COE Program
'Center of Aquaculture Science and Technology
for Bluefin Tuna and Other Cultivated Fish'