KUSHIMOTO, Wakayama -- Roughly 600 bluefin tuna that were being farm-raised here in western Japan have either died or disappeared due to the effects of Typhoon Jebi, Kindai University announced on Sept. 10.
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The tuna were awaiting shipment, and the university estimates the financial damage to be about 100 million yen.
According to the Aquaculture Research Institute at Kindai University in the town of Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, the round fish pen where the tuna were being raised was about 30 meters in diameter and roughly 10 meters deep. The pen drifted approximately 100 meters away after the rope that fixed the pen in place was severed due to storm surges from the typhoon. About 250 tuna died from rubbing against the net and another 350 or so have gone missing. The frame of the pen was found broken.
Kindai University became the first institution in the world to achieve complete aquaculture production of bluefin tuna in 2002, and the fish has gained popularity as "Kindai tuna." The average price of a bluefin tuna at shipment is around 150,000 yen.
(Japanese original by Koji Yamanari, Wakayama Bureau)