Fisherman, problem solver and inventor Dinko Lukin left an indelible mark on global tuna fishing by pioneering the catching and ranching of the legendary Southern Bluefin Tuna with his family-owned company Dinko Tuna. In the 1960s Dinko built the Orao, a boat that became enshrined in Port Lincoln folklore, and first poled tuna in the Great Australian Bight.
In the 1980s government bodies stated overfishing of Southern Bluefin Tuna had put stocks at risk and by 1985 a quota was introduced and enforced for Australian fishermen, with similar restrictions on Japanese and New Zealand fishers. The governing body considered this insufficient and in 1989 tuna fishers had their quota and income cut by two thirds. Dinko, forever the problem solver, threw the industry a lifeline when he hatched the ground-breaking idea of farming this fast swimming ocean fish. In a quest to develop the most sustainable Bluefin tuna fishery in the world, Dinko Tuna implemented the harvest of wild Bluefin Tuna as they pass through the cold, clean waters of South Australia during late summer in February/March.
Using a purse seine method, the live fish are corralled and only a select number are transferred to a net, which is slowly towed back to Port Lincoln where they are ranched. The remaining fish are set free to continue their migration. When the captured fish arrive in Port Lincoln, they are fed a diet of premium, fresh, sustainable pilchards, sardines and yellow tail. The method doubled the fishermen’s quota as the limit on their catch was determined by the weight of the fish caught in the wild, with any weight gained in captivity a bonus. Dinko Lukin’s solution is now the internationally accepted method for Bluefin Tuna farming.