SYDNEY (Kyodo) Australian aquaculture pioneer Clean Seas Tuna Ltd. has said it is ready to commercialize its southern bluefin tuna propagation program, something environmentalists hope will reduce the world’s dependency on wild catch tuna.

The listed firm’s chairman, Hagen Stehr, was quoted earlier this week by Australian Broadcasting Corp. as saying the company made the announcement earlier than planned as it was recently forced to halt trading in shares after the share price rose by 38 percent.

Stehr said the life cycle of the tuna is now complete at its land-based breeding facility at Arno Bay, South Australia, with enough eggs and larvae to produce tuna for the next 18 years, ABC reported.

“We’ve got virtually unlimited amount of fertilized eggs,” he was quoted as saying. “That means that we’ve got fertilized eggs, we’ve got larvae, we’ve closed the cycle, and we’re now looking for commercialization.”

Last September, Clean Seas Tuna and Kinki University of Japan signed an agreement to share technologies and techniques on the propagation and husbandry of tuna.

The agreement involves Clean Seas’ scientists working in Japan and Kinki University scientists working in South Australia on the commercial propagation of tuna.

Kinki University’s northern bluefin tuna hatchery technology program commenced in 1970 and resulted in the spawning of the fish under natural ocean conditions in net cages off Wakayama in 1979 and the first successful completion of the tuna life cycle in 2002.

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