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San Diego Company’s Bluefin-Tuna Breeding A First

Umami Seafood Hopes To Replicate Success in Baja Fish Farm


A San Diego-based seafood company says it has spawned bluefin tuna naturally at their fish farm in Croatia.

Umami Sustainable Seafood, supplies sashimi-grade Northern bluefin tuna around the world.

Umami CEO Oli Steindorsson said it is the first time the highly prized tuna has spawned on a large scale.

"This is basically like eight years of hard work and research and development that we have been developing our techniques," said Steindorsson.

He said growing bluefin tuna in ocean farms could take pressure off the wild species, which is in decline.

"If you care about high quality seafood and if you care about the issue of diminishing stock of various fish species, higher-end fish species, around the world, then you should care about this development," said Steindorsson.

He said the company has 800 employees worldwide, with 15 in San Diego.

Steindorrson said growing the bluefin will help grow the company too.

"This gives credibility for the company to the exisiting investors," he said. "It will bring in the right type of investors who are reading and understanding our story."

Steindorsson said it is possible the success in Croatia could be replicated at the company's fish farm operations off Baja.

He said it is the third consecutive year that natural spawning activities have taken place in Umami's Croatian commercial tuna farming facility, with this latest effort the largest documented spawning so far.

"There is still a lot of work left to achieve the company's main goal of developing economically viable processes of raising the fish," Steindorsson said.

He said the long-term goal is to grow the bluefin tuna from egg to plate and enrich the company's bottom line.

Umami Sustainable Seafood owns and operates Kali Tuna, which is an established Croatian-based aquaculture operation raising Northern bluefin tuna in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea.

The company said in November 2010 it acquired Baja Aqua Farms, a Mexico-based aquaculture operation raising Northern bluefin tuna in the Pacific.

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