Can Tuna Aquaculture Be Sustainable?

Written by on June 13, 2013 in Marine Life, Technology

Daily Summary

Fast-sinking jellyfish drag carbon to seafloor


Jellyfish. Photo credit: Stephan Geyer via photopin cc.

A new study is the first to examine how gelatinous life in the oceans sinks–an important process in terms of the ocean’s ability to store carbon dioxide. The study found that when jellyfish die they sink to the ocean floor faster than other marine organisms, allowing the oceans to absorb more carbon dioxide. Previous studies have shown that plankton and other tiny organisms are the main sources of carbon transport to the seafloor. This study shows, however, that jellyfish sink much faster than those smaller organisms and therefore are able to transport much more carbon away from the surface.

Questions rise about seeding for ocean C02 sequestration

Iron fertilization–the process of adding iron to surface water in order to increase the amount of CO2 stored by the oceans–is already a controversial process. Now, a new study shows that one type of phytoplankton, a diatom, uses more iron that it needs for photosynthesis and stores the extra in its skeleton and shell. This reduces the amount of iron left for carbon-eating plankton, making iron fertilization less beneficial than previously thought. These iron-storing diatoms mean that iron fertilization would have only short-term environmental benefits and could actually reduce the overall amount of CO2 the ocean can hold.

URI, Greenfins developing techniques for tuna aquaculture

Together, the University of Rhode Island and Greenfins are working to develop techniques for successful, sustainable tuna aquaculture. This would be different from what is more commonly done today–a process called tuna ranching where juvenile tuna are captured from the wild and put in pens until they reach harvest size. Tuna aquaculture involves raising tuna in pens for their whole life cycle, from egg to harvest size. Watch the video to learn more!

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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