TOKYO -- Japanese seafood distributor Kyokuyo will begin shipping fully farmed Pacific bluefin tuna to stores and restaurants in November, aiming to offer a sustainable alternative to a fish whose natural stock is threatened by rising consumption.
Fully farmed tuna are the offspring of fish hatched from artificially inseminated eggs and raised to adulthood. The entire process is controlled, allowing for full traceability -- an increasingly important concept in today's food supply chains.
Tokyo-based Kyokuyo will ship the tuna from its farm on Sukumo Bay in western Japan, starting with 60 tons in the remainder of fiscal 2017 and 200 tons the following year. Besides selling the fish in Japan, the company will consider exports to emerging markets where demand for seafood is growing rapidly.
Domestic rival Maruha Nichiro already distributes fully farmed bluefin tuna, and Nippon Suisan Kaisha plans to start this coming winter. Faced with a crowded field of competition, Kyokuyo will seek to stand out in terms of its tuna's appearance and long-lasting freshness. The farming effort has seen it partner with Tokyo-listed feed supplier Feed One.
As the world's top consumer of bluefin tuna, Japan has weathered international criticism for not doing more to stop depleting the natural stock. The Fisheries Agency is now moving to reduce catches of wild tuna fry.