“The upshot is a closed system that can be set up anywhere, generates no pollution and can be kept disease-free,” writes Carr.
Yoni Zohar (l) and Jorge Gomezjurado (r) watching bluefin tuna larvae at IMET aquaculture research facility.
Zohar has learned the hard way that it is difficult to grow in captivity some species that consumers most value, like bluefin tuna, yellowtail, and other marine fish. The system he and his colleagues have built at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) enables fish to thrive, particularly in the early stages of life, by carefully mimicking factors like temperature, salinity, and oxygen conditions found in the species’ natural habitats. However, the optimal conditions initiating reproduction and nurturing juvenile fish to adulthood have proven more challenging to replicate.
“[Zohar] has spent decades studying the hormone system that triggers spawning and can now stimulate it on demand,” writes Carr. He has also carefully researched the needs of freshly-hatched larvae, and he is now focused on developing methods to effectively and reliably raise Bluefin tuna into adulthood.
Baltimore area restaurants have already enjoyed IMET’s locally grown fish, and Zohar is currently preparing for his system to undergo commercial-scale trials. “If he succeeds,” Carr writes, “…sushi lovers around the world will be forever in his debt.”
Read the full story in The Economist.
Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11.