Raising tuna at URI

  These yellowfin tuna are schooling in the ocean. Other yellowfin tuna are schooling in a giant tank at URI's School of Oceanography. It's exciting to watch.

These yellowfin tuna are schooling in the ocean. Other yellowfin tuna are schooling in a giant tank at URI's School of Oceanography. It's exciting to watch.

Expanded from an item in Robert Whitcomb's Dec. 31 '"Digital Diary'' column in GoLocal24.com

Thank God for scallops. These shellfish have been a boon for New England fishermen– an offset to the tendency of fishermen to fish to near-extinction finfish, such as as cod, off New England to meet the world’s rapidly growing appetite for seafood.

But there may soon be big reinforcements for New England's fishing sector and they start on land.  Experts in a facility on the campus of the University of Rhode Island School of Oceanography are raising yellowfin tuna in an exciting and potentially very lucrative aquaculture experiment. I recently had a tour of the URI Bay Campus facility, which has a giant tank where this is taking place. To see the tuna school in the tank is, well, neat.

If this experiment works, it could mean a lot of money for URI and for businesses, based, let us hope, in New England. Most of the aquaculture in southern New England has been with shellfish; there's been some salmon aquaculture in Maine. It’s nice to see more diversification.