BlueInvest Success Stories

From bluefins to BlueInvest: Next Tuna's sustainable solution

Success stories

Tuna is the most appreciated aquatic food item in the EU. Worldwide, the consumption of tuna species amounts to 7.5 million tonnes per year, equalling to a global tuna market value of € 36 billion per year. Unfortunately, this consumption is fully based on wild catch as reproduction of tuna in farms has not (yet) been achieved at commercial scale. This is particularly threatening the Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABT), one of the highest quality tuna species.


Next Tuna, a Germany-based company founded in 2020, is addressing this critical issue by pioneering a sustainable solution through innovative aquaculture. And, as so often, innovation needs cooperation to thrive. In 2023, Next Tuna benefited from the BlueInvest Fundraising Assistance Programme.

“BlueInvest support was extremely helpful in strengthening our network of private investors”, says Andrew Eckhardt, co-founder of Next Tuna.


Three key challenges to commercial Atlantic bluefin tuna reproduction

There are three most critical points towards ABT reproduction at commercial scale.

  • First, ensuring the proper feeding of ABT during the crucial larvae stage, which has however seen significant progress in Asia and Europe.
  • Secondly, achieving the reliable spawning of broodstock in captivity. In 2023, Next Tuna's partner, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, accomplished a global first with ABT raised in their land-based recirculating aqua system (RAS), a closed-loop water system that ensures a controlled and optimal environment for the breeding and growth of aquatic species.
  • Thirdly, specific infrastructure designed for ABT is essential. This infrastructure guarantees that broodstock and juveniles remain in a controlled environment until reaching biological robustness, facilitating their transfer without the need for manual intervention.


Technology and partnerships: a comprehensive approach

To tackle this third challenge, Next Tuna have, together with Seafarming Systems, developed a highly innovative floating recirculating aqua system (RAS) concept. A first floating RAS system is expected to go into operation in Spain later this year as fully operational fish farm. The system can be used for all finfish species. Next Tuna aims to market it to third parties – but also to develop precision farming methodologies within it, together with Fraunhofer Society and other partners.

Next Tuna's journey extends beyond commercial success; it is a crucial step towards preserving ABT and maritime wildlife. Dr. Paul-Daniel Sindilariu, Co-founder of Next Tuna, emphasises their goal: “We want to take the great progress made in Atlantic bluefin tuna reproduction research to the final step of commercialisation. We will revive the European tuna industry and provide healthy, sustainably produced Atlantic bluefin tuna to European consumers.”


The internal view of the floating recirculating aquasystem shows the tank at its centre, allowing the completion of the reproductive cycle of the ABT at commercial scale.
© Next Tuna GmbH

Building connections with BlueInvest

In 2021, Next Tuna participated in the BlueInvest Readiness Assistance Program, which helped them to complement the funding received from EIT Food as winner of their 2021 call 'Sustainable Aquaculture' with private funding. Also, Next Tuna were the winner of the BlueInvest Award 2023, in the category Sustainable Food and Feed from the Ocean. In 2023, Next Tuna benefited from the BlueInvest Fundraising Assistance Programme.

Next Tuna Co-Founder Andrew Eckhardt during his pitch at the BlueInvest Awards 2023, which was rewarded by the jury with the price in Category II: Sustainable Food and Feed from the Ocean.
© BlueInvest

With the support of BlueInvest and partners, including the IEO, Seafarming Systems, Wageningen Livestock Research and Skretting, Next Tuna’s journey underscores the importance of partnerships for innovation and safeguarding endangered species and promoting a responsible blue economy.


About BlueInvest

BlueInvest is an EU initiative that aims to boost innovation and investment in sustainable technologies for the blue economy. It offers assistance to access financing for early-stage businesses, SMEs and scale-ups. BlueInvest is enabled by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

BlueInvest Readiness Assistance is an exclusive coaching programme. It targets high potential EU startups and SMEs with innovative and sustainable products and solutions for the blue economy. Businesses and projects selected for investment readiness assistance will receive coaching packages tailored to their readiness levels and business objectives. The programme is impact-driven, with a clear focus on providing business support to help startups and SMEs build capacities for growth and attract investment.

More mature SMEs can also apply to the BlueInvest fundraising assistance, that aims to support equity round closures through coaching.

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More information

Website: Next Tuna

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