Tuna Operations

AFE uses its own aeroplane with specialist pilot and spotter to locate the Tuna in the vast waters of the Great Australian Bight.

Australia’s largest Farmer and holder of Southern Bluefin Tuna Quota

Farming / Ranching


Farming Southern Bluefin Tuna involves:

  • Catching the wild fish in the Great Australian Bight in late summer each year;
  • Transporting the fish in tow cages to the farm sites near Port Lincoln, South Australia;
  • Transferring the fish into the grow out cages on our farm sites;
  • Growing the tuna into a premium quality product for the export market;
  • Harvesting them in mid— to late winter.

Tuna in Farm


The farming process is managed by our Tuna Farm Manager in conjunction with Mr Sarin to ensure that we produce a premium quality product that meets the expectations of our export customers.

The FV Maria Luisa is deployed each year from January through to April to catch our Southern Bluefin Tuna quota in the Great Australian Bight. The tuna are transferred from the catch net into tow cages that are used to transport the fish to Port Lincoln where they are again transferred into the grow-out cages on our farm sites.


Tuna fishing
FV Maria Luisa is then responsible for catching all of AFE, SAMS Sea Farm and KIS Tuna's annual tuna quota for the farming season.



AFE successfully produces consistent quality tuna each year. This is achieved through a range of proactive fish husbandry practices such as diet formulation during the growth cycle, feeding practices in response to fish feeding behaviour, water temperature changes, cage design and maintenance to maximise water flow through the cages while minimising marine growth.

AFE follows a stringent environmental monitoring program that meets both industry and internal company standards. The program requires AFE to closely monitor a range of environmental parameters to ensure the health of the fish is maximised while minimising the impact on the environment.

Feeding - Pilchards

These include water temperature, dissolved oxygen inside and outside of the cages at various depths, the amount of marine growth of the cages restricting water flow and any changes to the demersal habitat under the farm sites compared with areas away from the farm sites.

Residue Testing

The accumulation of residues in large predators at the top of the food chain has been known for many years. Globally, Food Safety Authorities have established maximum tolerable limits for a wide range of these residues including heavy metals, pesticides, antimicrobials, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) to ensure that consumers are protected.

Southern Bluefin Tuna

AFE, being the largest farmer of Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) in Australia,

has recognised the need to provide our customers the information they require to ensure our product maintains a leading position in the market place.

AFE has taken the initiative and conducted independent residue testing on our SBT as this information is a key part of our marketing strategy.

No detectable levels of any pesticide, antimicrobial, antimony, cadmium, lead or tin residues were found in our fish.

Both dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) were extremely low, with mean dioxin being 5% of the European maximum limit and mean PCB results were 1.6% of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code maximum limit.