Oita Marine Biological Technology Center

Oita Marine Biological Technology Center

Oita Marine Biological Technology Center is an R&D institution in 1994 to promote the aquaculture business both in Japan and abroad. The Center continuously conducts research spanning from biotechnology to the development of machinery for the efficient breeding of high-quality farmed fish.

In Yellowtail farming, the Center is working to resolve technical issues in executing the coastal aquaculture business by sharing the challenge with Nissui's subsidiary Kurose Suisan Co.,Ltd.

The Center is currently engaged in research and development as follows.

  • Measures against fish diseases in order to stabilize aquaculture production
  • Development of artificial seedlings and promotion of breeding research aimed at maintaining business sustainability
  • Development of formula feed with reduced composition of fish meal and fish oils in cooperation with Nissui's in-house fish feed and oil plant
  • Development of land-based aquaculture technology aimed at attaining safe and environmentally-friendly farming technology with high productivity
  • Development of new automatic feeding system utilizing feeding behavior of the fish and real-time environmental monitoring system through information technology
  • Development of offshore aquaculture technology aimed at increasing production volume and expanding fish farms

Efforts made by the Oita Marine Biological Technology Center of the Aquaculture Business Promotion Office

For the stable production of high-quality farmed fish, the Center is engaged in the study of fish diseases, including the monitoring of red tides and other elements of the breeding environment and measures to prevent infectious diseases. The Center devises and introduces measures against fish diseases and introduces systems to manage the health of farmed fishes into the Group's aquaculture companies such as Kurose Suisan Co.,Ltd. (Yellowtail), Seinan Suisan Co., Ltd. (Bluefin tuna) and Salmones Antartica S.A. (Salmon/Trout). The Center is also engaged in the research and development of new drugs in collaboration with marine pharmaceutical companies. The Center is a fountain of knowledge, whose track record is widely recognized by the Group's aquaculture companies.

Yellowtails swimming in aquaculture tanks

Development of artificial seedlings and the promotion of breeding research

In order to establish a consistent aquaculture business, the Center not only devises and introduces measures against fish diseases but also engages in the development of artificial seedlings and research on breeding of Bluefin tuna, Yellowtail and etc. without relying on the capture of wild juvenile fish. The Center has been putting efforts especially into Yellowtail: since launching research in 2005, it has accumulated technologies that enabled the mass production of Yellowtail in recent years. These technologies had made it possible to harvest high-quality, two-year-old Yellowtail is comparable to or considered as being even better than wild Yellowtails. In the future, the Center intends to further improve the mass-production system, mainly by accelerating the growth speed of selected breeds, develop other breeds such as those with ideal body shapes and resistance against fish diseases, and improve fish quality including taste and flesh color, thereby contributing to the development of a framework that ensures the sustainable supply of high-quality Yellowtail through fish farming based on artificial seedlings.

Development of formula feed with a reduced composition of fish meal and fish oils

The main ingredients of formula feed for farmed fish are fish meal and fish oils. However, the supply and price of fish meal and fish oils have been largely dependent to the fish catch by two South American countries, Peru and Chile. Currently, the world is shifting away from powdered fish and fish oils, and the Center, by targeting plant-based raw materials, is also promoting research and development of alternative feed that will not adversely impact the growth of the farmed fish even when the percentage of powdered fish and fish oils is reduced.

Development of new feeding techniques

In order to prevent excessive feeding, a certain amount of manpower is required, as the appropriate amount of feed must be controlled manually, with each fish cage monitored by a person who gauges the fish's appetite from the amount of feed that has been consumed. In the case of fish farms on the open sea, there is only a limited window of time for feeding and there are days when feeding vessels cannot reach the fish cages.

To address these issues, the Center has developed and upgrading a system in which information and images of the fish may be checked on personal computers or cell phones in real time through the installation of appetite sensors, underwater cameras, and sensors for dissolved oxygen and water temperatures in the fish cages, and which is also capable of controlling the appropriate amount of feed and preventing excessive feeding through a control device embedded in an automatic feeding machine.

Development of safe and environmentally friendly onshore aquaculture technology

The Center is engaged in the research and development of land-based aquaculture technology, which refers to a new type of aquaculture system that involves farming fish and shellfish in large aquaculture tanks built on land. In land-based aquaculture, the survival rate of fish is stable and high, and fish can be farmed without the use of drugs, whereas in coastal aquaculture, the survival rate of fish is unstable due to the fish being exposed to various risks including fish diseases. Land-based aquaculture is an environmentally friendly technology that circulates and reuses the water used in cultivation by treating the pollutants in the water.