Japanese technology on farming mackerel tuna (Euthynnus affinis) is set to be adopted in the Philippines. Through a Japanese funded project, hatchery and grow-out trials will be conducted this year in Iloilo.
Researchers are expecting good tuna performance due to the tropical climate in the Philippines. “The Philippines has the optimum condition for rearing mackerel tuna as it requires a water temperature of 20 – 28ºC to achieve a fast growth,” said Koh-ichiro Mori, deputy chief of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/AQD) based in Tigbauan, Iloilo. “Compared to Japan, the seedstocks here will grow to the market size of 2.5 kilos in only six months,” said Mori, who also is the leader of the project.
After breeding the tuna for one or two years, Mori said they hope to carry out seed production in 2021 or 2022 and achieve closing the mackerel tuna breeding cycle in the Philippines by 2023 or 2024 with eggs from hatchery-bred broodstock.
Mackerel tuna has a comparable taste with bluefin tuna, is a highly prized fish and is becoming popular in Japan as sashimi and ingredient for sushi costing around JPY3,500 per kilo. According to Mori, mackerel tuna is more practical for breeding than yellowfin tuna. “Yellowfin tuna grows larger compared to mackerel. It requires bigger cages and consumes a bigger amount of feed, which would difficult small-scale farmers culture,” he explained.