News Letter Vol.2
Kinki University 21st Century COE Program English Site > News Letter Vol.2
21st Century COE Program 'Center for Aquaculture Science and Technology for Bluefin Tuna and Other Cultivated Fish'
A detailed introduction to and the current status of the research activities at the Seedling Production and Culture Group

Osamu Murata (Seedling Production and Culture Group, Fisheries Laboratory)

Fertilized egg of bluefin tuna
As mentioned in News Letter Vol. 1, 'Center for Aquaculture Science and Technology for Bluefin Tuna and Other Cultivated Fish' consists of four groups. The Seedling Production and Culture Group has the largest staff among the groups and has four research sites, including the three test sites of Fisheries Laboratories located at Shirahama, Uragami and Oshima, and Graduate School of Agriculture. Our group consists of a teaching staff of nine, nine COE doctorate researchers, 19 graduate school masters course students, and three graduate school doctorate course students. In this volume, I would like to get you informed about the current status of the activities at the Center, which was established more than one year ago and is getting on track.

Fisheries Laboratory of Kinki University, the core unit of the COE Center, has been devoted to university/industry-collaboration-type research and education in the fishery and culture area since its foundation in 1948. We have developed industrial-scale production technology for approximately 16 major food fish, including yellowtail, red sea bream, and flatfish, leading the fish culture industry in Japan. In the meantime, for the first time in 2002, 32 years after the initiation of culture research, we succeeded in the full cultivation of bluefin tuna, a species which is difficult to culture and whose seeding is also hard to produce, but the development of industrial-scale seedling production technology still remains as a challenge.

In this context, the biggest challenge related to bluefin tuna which is now facing the COE Center is technology for collecting the ovum and breeding incubated larval and commodity-size fish. Our Group, consisting of a significantly wide range of experts in morphological development, fish cultivation, fish disease, fish development biology, fish environment physiology, molecular biology, etc., all of which underpin fishery cultivation, conducts a growth, physiological/biochemical, and thremmatological study of the mature, oviposition, and growth of important fish, and is devoted to research activities designed to develop seedling production technology indispensable for commercialization and improve and develop culture technology. Therefore, in each of these special fields, the teaching staff, doctorate researchers, and graduate students conduct experiments in concert, securing close cooperation with other fields.

With respect to research on bluefin tuna, each researcher has accumulated fundamental knowledge in his/her field. In July this year, a cross-group project was launched together with three other groups, namely Environmental Conservation and Source Dynamism, Food Safety, Processing, and Animal Feed, and Economics and Distribution, and our Group acting as the research promoter. This is a large-scale research project linking the two bluefin tuna breaching test sites of Kinki University Fisheries Laboratory located at Kushimoto-oshima and Amami-oshima, designed to develop technology necessary for assisting the bluefin tuna culture industry. In this cross-group project, we will investigate the impact upon growth and flesh quality of the differences in fishery environment between Wakayama and Amami as well as the impact on growth, flesh quality, etc., of the differences in physical environment and behavior between large (35m in diameter) and small (16m in diameter) preserves in the same fishery, with a view to developing culture technology.

Thus, our Group, being aware of its responsibility as the core of the site, is devoted to day-to-day research activities so that we can produce individual research achievements for the accumulation of fundamental knowledge and attain results as an industrial-support-type center, which is our ultimate goal.