Hormone Controversy in Farm-Raised Bluefin Tuna

The overfishing of bluefin tuna and the 90% drop in population levels has led to an increasing number of aquaculture farms raising bluefin tuna for commercial sale. Since bluefin tuna are very active creatures and used to migrating, it is difficult for these farms to mimic their natural habitat. As a result, a particular hormone in bluefin tuna, called GnRH decreases when they are in captivity, making reproduction extremely difficult.
The University of Maryland's Biotechnology Institute began experimenting with hormone implants for bluefin tuna in 2005. These hormone implants cause the fish to produce millions of eggs in a short period of time.
Although the method is controversial among some environmentalists, others believe it may be a necessary method for saving the bluefin tuna species. The main concerns are not knowing whether there are health issues resulting from eating tuna that has been fed hormones, and of course that farm-raising tuna may not be a good idea in first place because of the amount of fish that have to be harvested from the ocean in order to feed them, reducing the food supply for other species of fish.

For more information:

www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/farm-raised-bluefin-tuna-spawn-controversy

www.thefishsite.com/articles/740/reproducing-the-atlantic-bluefin

http://finfish.org/wp-content/uploads/SELFDOTT-PR2009-DEF1.pdf

by Jasmine Winchell, PSU

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