, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 177-181
Date: 15 May 2012

Critical swimming speed and maximum sustainable swimming speed of juvenile Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis

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Tank wall collision is one of the major causes of mortality during the early-stage rearing of Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis (PBT). Therefore, to design a rearing environment that meets the needs of juvenile PBT, it is important to gather information about their swimming capabilities. We conducted experiments to examine the relative critical swimming speed (RCSS) and maximum sustainable swimming speed (MSSS) of early-stage PBT. The fish were kept in 3-tonne tanks and fed on artificial pellets every 2 h from dusk to dawn. We conducted two sets of experiments to measure swimming speed; the fish were introduced one at a time into a water funnel, and the water current velocity was gradually increased over time to estimate RCSS, or the water current was kept at a constant velocity to estimate MSSS. We measured the RCSS of 72 PBT juveniles (24–29 days after hatching (DAH); standard length (SL), 15.0 ± 2.3 mm) and the MSSS of 32 PBT juveniles (28–37 DAH; SL, 20.0 ± 5.1 mm) in the laboratory. The RCSS ranged from 4.7 to 20.3 SL/s (average, 12.4 ± 3.3 SL/s), and the MSSS was estimated to be approximately 4 SL/s. We speculate that introducing a water current in the rearing tank of no more than 4 SL/s could positively affect the survival of juvenile PBT.