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Fully farmed Japanese tuna heading to overseas markets

University project ready to begin Southeast Asian exports this fall

Pacific bluefin tuna, served in Japanese sushi restaurants as "maguro," has been declared a threatened species.

TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Toyota Tsusho and Kindai University will begin exporting fully farmed Pacific bluefin tuna to Southeast Asia and other markets starting this fall, they announced Thursday. 

Full-cycle fish farming is garnering attention for its sustainability as calls for protecting ocean resources grow louder worldwide. Pacific bluefin tuna, one of the most popular sushi ingredients, was placed on the threatened-species list in 2014 over concerns about depleted natural stocks.

The partners aim to export 2,000 tuna a year by 2020. They expected to produce 3,500 to 4,000 tuna this year, with capacity seen rising to 6,000 fish in 2020 thanks to better survival rates and other improvements.

The fish, dubbed "Kindai tuna," are raised from eggs to adulthood. Based near Osaka, the university started developing the aquaculture method in 2002 and began working with Toyota Tsusho on full-cycle tuna farming in 2010.

Toyota Tsusho will handle overseas sales and market the popular fish to restaurants and retailers in Southeast Asia. There are also plans to export fully farmed Japanese amberjack, or yellowtail, raised with help from Kindai.

Japan, the world's top consumer of Pacific bluefin, has tightened limits on wild catches amid criticism that the country is not doing more to stop overfishing.

(Nikkei)

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