Photo/IllutrationAn enclosure off Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, on Sept. 10 where hundreds of bluefin tuna cultivated by Kindai University either died or went missing in Typhoon No. 21, which pounded the region last week (Provided by Kindai University’s Aquaculture Research Institute)

  • Photo/Illustraion

KUSHIMOTO, Wakayama Prefecture--About 600 bluefin tuna being raised in a Kindai University fish farm have died or were washed out to sea in storm surges caused by Typhoon No. 21 last week, totaling 100 million yen ($909,000) in damages.

The university’s Aquaculture Research Institute said Sept. 10 that damage was done to the prized fish in one of the 15 netted enclosures set up in waters off Kushimoto.

Before the typhoon--the most powerful to strike Japan in 25 years--barreled into the Kansai region early last week, about 600 bluefin tuna that weighed about 30 kilograms or so each were raised in the pen.

But after the typhoon, only a few survived, according to the university. Some 250 were found dead and 350 were missing.

The enclosure, which is 30 meters in diameter and 10 meters deep, was washed away from the original location toward the sea by about 100 meters.

Officials at the institute believe the missing tuna were carried out to the sea beyond the pen as the typhoon whipped up high waves.

The fish that remained in the enclosure died after they most likely were injured or became unable to breathe in the high waters. The surviving tuna have also likely been injured.

Kindai University is a world leader in artificially raising the bluefin tuna with the latest aquaculture technology. It cultivates a combined 10,000 tuna in its fish farms in Wakayama Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture.

Despite the loss, the university will have no problems supplying farm-raised tuna to restaurants it operates in Tokyo and Osaka, officials added.