Southern bluefin tuna

Thunnus maccoyii

Thunnus maccoyii (Southern bluefin tuna)
Taxonomy
    • Osteichthyes
      • Scombriformes
        • Scombridae
          • Thunnus maccoyii
Distribution
Distribution map: Thunnus maccoyii (Southern bluefin tuna)

Information


Author: João L. Saraiva
Version: 2.0 (2021-12-20)

Cite

Reviewers: Pablo Arechavala-Lopez, Jenny Volstorf
Editor: Billo Heinzpeter Studer

Cite as: »Saraiva, João L.. 2021. Thunnus maccoyii (Farm: Short Profile). In: FishEthoBase, ed. Fish Ethology and Welfare Group. World Wide Web electronic publication. First published 2017-10-13. Version 2.0. https://fishethobase.net.«





FishEthoScore/farm

Thunnus maccoyii
LiPoCe
Criteria
Home range
Depth range
Migration
Reproduction
Aggregation
Aggression
Substrate
Stress
Malformations
Slaughter


Condensed assessment of the species' likelihood and potential for good fish welfare in aquaculture, based on ethological findings for 10 crucial criteria.

Li = Likelihood that the individuals of the species experience good welfare under minimal farming conditions
Po = Potential of the individuals of the species to experience good welfare under high-standard farming conditions
Ce = Certainty of our findings in Likelihood and Potential

FishEthoScore = Sum of criteria scoring "High" (max. 10)

Legend

High
Medium
Low
Unclear
No findings



General remarks

Farming of Thunnus maccoyii started in the 1970s mainly in Australia and Japan as a solution for the observed depletion of stocks and its high market value. This warm-blooded fish is an ocean cruiser, and therefore solutions for farming will be hampered by its need for space. There is already a fair amount of research on this species, but more knowledge is necessary regarding social interactions, stress, malformations and on the development of a humane stunning and slaughter method. Although it is mostly farmed from wild-caught individuals, rearing and housing of spawners should be improved.




1  Home range

Many species traverse in a limited horizontal space (even if just for a certain period of time per year); the home range may be described as a species' understanding of its environment (i.e., its cognitive map) for the most important resources it needs access to. What is the probability of providing the species' whole home range in captivity?

It is low for minimal and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: planktonic, passive dispersal 1. FARM: conical tanks: 3,000-13,000 L 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: average 74 km/day 3. FARM: sea cages: 32-50 m diameter 4 5.

ADULTS: WILD: 33-163 km/day 6. FARM JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD Adults. FARM: sea cages: 32-50 m diameter 4 5 7; land based tanks: 3,000 m3 2.




2  Depth range

Given the availability of resources (food, shelter) or the need to avoid predators, species spend their time within a certain depth range. What is the probability of providing the species' whole depth range in captivity?

There are unclear findings for minimal farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: mostly 0-35 m 8. FARM: conical tanks 3,000-13,000 L 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: mostly 0-10 m, occasionally down to 90 m 3, reaching max 600 m 9 10. FARM: sea cages: 15-22 m 11.

ADULTS Juveniles.

SPAWNERSWILD: no data found yet. FARM: sea cages: 15-22 m 11 7; land-based tanks: 3,000 m3 2




3  Migration

Some species undergo seasonal changes of environments for different purposes (feeding, spawning, etc.) and with them, environmental parameters (photoperiod, temperature, salinity) may change, too. What is the probability of providing farming conditions that are compatible with the migrating or habitat-changing behaviour of the species?

It is low for minimal and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

Epipelagic, oceanic cruiser, OCEANODROMOUS 12 9 13 13

LARVAEWILD: planktonic, passive dispersal 1FARM: conical tanks 2. For details on rearing systems  crit 1 and 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: migrate from Indonesia to Southern Australia 13 and seasonally from Southern Australia, South Africa and NW Australia 13 14. FARM: farmed in sea cages 2. For details on rearing systems  crit 1 and 2.

ADULTS: WILD: migrate seasonally between a single spawning ground between Indonesia and Australia and Southern Australia 15. FARM Juveniles.

SPAWNERS: WILD Adults. FARM: kept in sea cages 7 or land-based tanks 2.




4  Reproduction

A species reproduces at a certain age, season, and sex ratio and possibly involving courtship rituals. What is the probability of the species reproducing naturally in captivity without manipulation?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

WILD: spawn in a single spawning ground between Indonesia and Australia 15 13 throughout the year except July 15. May not spawn annually 16. FARM: inconsistent but spontaneous spawning occurs in net cages 7 and in land based tanks, mostly during austral summer 2. Parent animals are between 100-150 kg and commonly suffer severe injury from wall strikes due to chasing events during spawning 2.




5  Aggregation

Species differ in the way they co-exist with conspecifics or other species from being solitary to aggregating unstructured, casually roaming in shoals or closely coordinating in schools of varying densities. What is the probability of providing farming conditions that are compatible with the aggregation behaviour of the species?

There are unclear findings for minimal farming conditions. It is high for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: planktonic, released in large numbers and high density 17. FARM: 5-20 larvae/L 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: form schools usually up to 6 tonnes 18 19, occasionally of over 250 tonnes 19. Other tunas show nearest neighbour distances below 0.3 to 0.9 body lengths 20. Further research needed to determine wether this applies to T. maccoyii as well. FARM: max 4 kg/m3 4 5.

ADULTS: WILD: form migrating and spawning schools 18. FARM Juveniles.

SPAWNERS: WILD Adults. FARM: land-based tanks: 5-8 ind/m3 2.

 




6  Aggression

There is a range of adverse reactions in species, spanning from being relatively indifferent towards others to defending valuable resources (e.g., food, territory, mates) to actively attacking opponents. What is the probability of the species being non-aggressive and non-territorial in captivity?

There are no findings for minimal and high-standard farming conditions.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: no data found yet.

JUVENILESno data found yet.

ADULTSno data found yet.

SPAWNERSno data found yet.




7  Substrate

Depending on where in the water column the species lives, it differs in interacting with or relying on various substrates for feeding or covering purposes (e.g., plants, rocks and stones, sand and mud). What is the probability of providing the species' substrate and shelter needs in captivity?

It is high for minimal and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: planktonic 1. FARM: farmed in tanks 2.
JUVENILES: WILD: epipelagic, ocean cruiser 12 9 13. FARM: farmed in sea cages 4 5.
ADULTS: ➝ Juveniles.
SPAWNERS: WILD: ➝ Juveniles. FARM: kept in sea cages  4 5 7 or land-based tanks 2.




8  Stress

Farming involves subjecting the species to diverse procedures (e.g., handling, air exposure, short-term confinement, short-term crowding, transport), sudden parameter changes or repeated disturbances (e.g., husbandry, size-grading). What is the probability of the species not being stressed?

There are unclear findings for minimal farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a low amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: show no circulating signals of stress from repeated sampling disturbance 21. Individuals maintained offshore show better survival, better hematology and lower parasite loads than in nearshore farming 22.

ADULTS: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: no data found yet.




9  Malformations

Deformities that – in contrast to diseases – are commonly irreversible may indicate sub-optimal rearing conditions (e.g., mechanical stress during hatching and rearing, environmental factors unless mentioned in crit. 3, aquatic pollutants, nutritional deficiencies) or a general incompatibility of the species with being farmed. What is the probability of the species being malformed rarely?

There are unclear findings for minimal and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a low amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: daily survival rate of 52% 17. FARM: 72.5% uninflated swimbladder and very low survival rate at 11 days post-hatching: 0.67% 23. Rearing in low light may improve survival 24.

JUVENILES: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

ADULTS: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

 




10  Slaughter

The cornerstone for a humane treatment is that slaughter a) immediately follows stunning (i.e., while the individual is unconscious), b) happens according to a clear and reproducible set of instructions verified under farming conditions, and c) avoids pain, suffering, and distress. What is the probability of the species being slaughtered according to a humane slaughter protocol?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

Common slaughter method: no recognised standard protocol for stunning and slaughter available 25. High-standard slaughter method: no stunning methods are applied, only slaughter through underwater shooting (lupara), shooting from the surface with a shot-gun, and coring or spiking 25. Spiking, if performed properly and precisely, renders the fish dead instantly 26.




11  Side note: Domestication

Teletchea and Fontaine introduced 5 domestication levels illustrating how far species are from having their life cycle closed in captivity without wild input, how long they have been reared in captivity, and whether breeding programmes are in place. What is the species’ domestication level?

DOMESTICATION LEVEL 3 27, level 5 being fully domesticated. 




12  Side note: Forage fish in the feed

450-1,000 milliard wild-caught fishes end up being processed into fish meal and fish oil each year which contributes to overfishing and represents enormous suffering. There is a broad range of feeding types within species reared in captivity. To what degree may fish meal and fish oil based on forage fish be replaced by non-forage fishery components (e.g., poultry blood meal) or sustainable sources (e.g., soybean cake)?

WILD: carnivorous 18. FARM: juveniles and adults are fed with baitfish 28 2, spawners with pilchards and squid 2; replacement of fish meal and fish oil is not reported.




Glossary


LARVAE = hatching to mouth opening, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
WILD = setting in the wild
FARM = setting in farm environment
JUVENILES = fully developed but immature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
ADULTS = mature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
SPAWNERS = adults that are kept as broodstock
OCEANODROMOUS = living and migrating in the sea
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 3 = entire life cycle closed in captivity with wild inputs 27



Bibliography


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