Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi government hopes to soon begin bluefin tuna culture, using advanced technological support from a top Japanese university, officials disclosed yesterday.

The Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) inked an agreement with Japan's Kinki University to cooperate in the fields of aqua culture research and development.

A feasibility study on setting up a farm using closed re-circulating aquaculture systems will be prepared in September, with the hopes of launching a pilot project, officials told Gulf News.

While technological aspects and expertise will be the responsibility of the university, EAD will be in charge of the logistical and financial aspects of the project.

"Aquaculture will help us alleviate stress on natural fish stocks and improve food security in the Emirate," Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD said.

"We recognise the importance of aquaculture in the development of fish production and the establishment of an environmentally sustainable stock", he added.

The university has been researching the cultivation of Pacific bluefin tuna since the 1970s, and have perfected their techniques over the years, he said. The agreement was signed by Al Mansouri, and Hiroshige Seko, the Vice President of Kinki University.

"Kinki university is a renowned academic research centre in aquaculture. They are the only institution worldwide to have succeeded in farming bluefins from eggs to market size," Thabit Al Abdul Salam, Director of Biodiversity Sector, Marine Environment at EAD said.

"We will certainly benefit from their experience," he added. The university will also provide short to medium-term technical training to EAD's Emirati employees in Japan and UAE.

Facts: Atlantic species

The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), also known as the northern bluefin tuna, giant bluefin tuna (for larger individuals exceeding 150kg or 300 pounds) and formerly as the tunny, is a species of tuna native to both the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Atlantic bluefin have been recorded in the Black Sea in the past, but are now believed to be extinct there. The Atlantic bluefin tuna is a close relative of the other two bluefin tuna species — the Pacific bluefin tuna and the southern bluefin tuna.

Source: EAD