In this project, IEO puts forward three installations for TNA. The facilities include the Marine Aquaculture facilities of Murcia (IEO-ICRA and IEO-MAP) and Vigo (IEO-AquaCOV), three experimental aquaculture facilities fully equipped. These facilities include several areas, such as breeding, hatchery, nursery, phyto and zooplankton cultures and pre- and ongrowing. There are also several available on-site biological laboratories: wet labs, genetic, histology, nutrition, chemistry and biochemistry as well as rooms for feeding preparation. Murcia facilities are devoted to develop techniques for bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) reproduction in captivity and juvenile production of bluefin tuna, as well as breeding and juvenile production of other Mediterranean fish species.
The involved IEO teams (Vigo and Murcia) hold expertise to carry out scientific research in: Rearing protocols for new and consolidated species for aquaculture such as Atlantic bluefin tuna, wreckfish, European hake, greater amberjack, sparids, flatfish and cephalopods, reproductive performance and physiology, nutritional requirements of cultured marine species, health and welfare, immune system and vaccine development and genetic analysis for selective breeding of aquaculture stocks.

Name of the infrastructure: IEO-ICRA (The Infrastructure for controlling the reproduction of the bluefin tuna)
Location: Cartagena (Murcia), SPAIN
Website address:
Contact: Aurelio Ortega García


IEO-ICRA consists of a building of 2,660 m2, corresponding 1,960 m2 to the area including the tanks, 300 m2 to the laboratory area and offices and 400 m2 for water recycling and treatment area. The facility count on four big tanks: 2 broodstock tanks (22 y 20 m Ø , 9 m depth 3,500 and 2,500 m3), and 2 juveniles tanks (14 m Ø, 6 m depth, 900 m3 - and and 8 m Ø, 3 m depth -150 m3) with a total volume of 7,000 m3. The juvenile tanks are devoted to the quarantine, adaptation and ongrowing of new fish. Each broodstock tank counts on an independent system for the control of the photoperiod and water temperature. The laboratory and offices area includes a storage room, a cold and freezer room, two laboratories and four small offices. The treatment and recycling water area has two full independent systems including physical and biological filtration, thermal treatment (heating or cooling), chemical filtration with ozone and skimmers, U.V. sterilization and oxygen injection. All the facility is fully equipped with automatic cameras and sensors guaranteeing its correct operation and monitoring the tuna behaviour.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

IEO-ICRA is devoted to develop techniques for bluefin tuna reproduction in captivity. This facility is the product of a memorandum of understanding signed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Murcia Regional Community and the IEO, and it is co funded by the regional FEDER funds. First fish were allocated in the tanks in August 2015 and the broodstock will be moved to the facility in spring 2016.

IEO-ICRA is currently used as a research infrastructure by IEO scientific staff and also will be used by other Spanish institutes and universities, as well as private companies. Technical support for daily experimental work and technical help for samplings will be provided to all users. For specific needs, IEO scientists using the infrastructures will assist users for experimental design and data interpretation.

- Handling and management of bluefin tuna eggs.
- Massive production of seabream eggs for feeding bluefin tuna larvae in piscivory phase, from delayed spawning by means of photoperiod and temperature control.
- Assessment for eggs incubation, larval rearing and weaning of bluefin tuna
- Design, application and production of living prey for feeding bluefin tuna larvae: rotifer, Artemia, copepods (Acartia) .
- Prophylactic treatments for eggs and larvae.
- Chemical water analyses (pH, [O2], nitrogen metabolites) and body composition (moisture, protein, lipids, ash)
- Assessment on installation and use of pumping, recycling, filtration, sterilization, heating and chilling systems.
- Assessment on non-invasive sizing bluefin tuna by means of the VICASS (Video Image Capturing and Sizing System).
- Formation and training of technicians on bluefin tuna rearing.

Modality of access

IEO-ICRA will carry out experiments for potential users and provide physical access to its facilities during crucial periods of the running experiments. Up to the shifting of the bluefin tuna spawning season, planned in the ICRA, rearing experiments with bluefin tuna must be done during June and July, which is the period of spawning in natural conditions. As the standard procedures and the general maintenance will be carried out by trained and experienced staff, each user is expected to stay 10 days, typically 5 days at the beginning of the experiment to finalize the technical protocol details and start the experiment and 5 days at the end of the experiment for final measurements and sampling. This trial will be done in IEO MAP.

Access will comprise the use of non invasive methods to watch the behaviour of broodstock, sampling of water and sometimes (but not normally) of fish, and incubation of egg fish. Access to all dry laboratory facilities and other infrastructural, logistical, technical and scientific support to external users is offered, as well as access to internet, desk, fax and printing service, copy machine, etc. Users will be provided with any necessary technical assistance, training and advice on methodologies, experimental design and data analysis.
IEO-ICRA provides standardized experimental protocols, documentation of results, and appropriate sampling and conservation of samples.

Unit of Access

The unit of access is one week (5 days) per person. The typical access consists of 10 units. Unit of access is defined as one week during which a user is given access to IEO-ICRA facilities to use a set of experimental tanks or biological labs. The unit of access will include the preparatory work of the experiment and the technical support during the project.
There are 20 units of access allocated to IEO-ICRA over the life of the project.