Tony Šantić (born 17 October 1952 in Lastovo, Croatia) is a noted Australian thoroughbred owner and Southern bluefin tuna farmer.
Šantić gained initial success in tuna fishing, having grown up in Port Lincoln. His early exploits in the fishing industry also included fishing for orange roughy in a leaky boat called the Vigorous off the coast of Tasmania.He went on to establish "Tony's Tuna International" in 1994.
In the early 1990s, Šantić suffered financial hardship after tuna quotas were reduced twice. The tuna industry and a number of related businesses suffered while others shut down entirely. Santic's business survived, and by 1996 it had grown to include tuna ranching operations in Mexico, the Mediterranean and Port Lincoln. The development of ranching turned the tuna industry around, and Tony's Tuna International became one of the three largest tuna ranching operations in Port Lincoln.
In 1997, Šantić decided to pursue his interest in horse racing, which ultimately led to three Melbourne Cup victories courtesy of a horse he named Makybe Diva. Šantić featured in the BRW Rich List in 2003, with an estimated personal wealth of $200 million. Fellow Port Lincoln tuna ranchers Sam Sarin and Hagen Stehr also featured on the list.
By 2005, Šantić's horse Makybe Diva had won back-to-back Melbourne Cup races, and according to Robert Skeffington, editor of the BRW Rich List, Šantić was worth $150 million.
In January 2010, an ammonia cylinder exploded at Šantić's tuna processing facility, destroying a shed and releasing ammonia gas into the atmosphere. No-one was injured during the explosion and Šantić was out fishing at the time of the event. Safework SA announced that they would investigate the incident.
In 2012, Šantić's company, "Tony's Tuna International", initiated plans to trial an alternative ranching regime involving the capture of younger, smaller fish, and extending ranching time from six to 18 months. The initiative planned to make better use of the quota system, which allocates a total allowable catch to license holders, measured in tonnes.Later that year, Šantić and his wife Deslee became victims of fraud. The Adelaide newspaper The Advertiser was informed that $700,000 had been siphoned out of their business interests and that a 33-year-old Torquay man was under police investigation. As of 2015, Šantić remains the CEO of "Tony's Tuna International".
In 2015, South Australian Environment minister Ian Hunter revealed that Šantić was a director of Oceanic Victor Pty Ltd, a company with an active business proposal for Granite Island. With fellow director Michael "Mick" Dyer (who is also Šantić's Tuna International's Operations Manager) and long-term friend and advisor Emma Forster, the company intends to offer offshore marine tourism opportunities for visitors to the Victor Harbor area. The company proposes to use the kiosk at Granite Island as a departure point, from which tourists will be taken by boat to an offshore facility where they will be able to feed and swim with fish, and watch them from and underwater observatory.
Šantić came to Australia with his family in 1958, aged six. His parents lived in Geelong, Victoria, for the next eight years, after which Tony and his mother moved to Port Lincoln, South Australia.
In 1996, about nine years after the death from Hodgkin's disease of his first wife, Sonya, Šantić married Christine, his family's former cleaning lady.The couple shared three Melbourne Cup victories together with their racehorse, Makybe Diva.
In 2006 Šantić and his wife separated, with the divorce being finalised in 2008, involving the carve-up of his $200 million business.On 25 April 2009, he married his third wife, Deslee Kennedy, who had been his media manager.
Šantić has three children, Emily Šantić, born to his first wife, Sonya, Joseph Šantić, born on 8 March 1989 to his second wife, Christine, and Charli Rose, born in October 2009 to his third wife.He was also stepfather to Christine's children, Leith, Adam and Bianca, from her first marriage.
A tuna is a saltwater fish that belongs to the tribe Thunnini, a subgrouping of the Scombridae (mackerel) family. The Thunnini comprise 15 species across five genera, the sizes of which vary greatly, ranging from the bullet tuna up to the Atlantic bluefin tuna. The Atlantic bluefin averages 2 m (6.6 ft), and is believed to live up to 50 years.
Port Lincoln is a city on the Lower Eyre Peninsula in the Australian state of South Australia. It is situated on the shore of Boston Bay, which opens eastward into Spencer Gulf. It is the largest city in the West Coast region, and is located approximately 280 km as the crow flies from the State's capital city of Adelaide. In June 2019 Port Lincoln had an estimated population of 16,418, having grown at an average annual rate of 0.55% year-on-year over the preceding five years. The city is reputed to have the most millionaires per capita in Australia. The town claims to be the "Seafood Capital of Australia".
Big-game fishing, also known as offshore sportfishing, offshore gamefishing, or blue-water fishing is a form of recreational fishing, targeting large fish such as tuna and marlin which game fisherman regard as having "sporting qualities".
The Atlantic bluefin tuna is a species of tuna in the family Scombridae. It is variously known as the northern bluefin tuna, giant bluefin tuna [for individuals exceeding 150 kg (330 lb)], and formerly as the tunny.
Makybe Diva is a British-bred, Australian-trained Thoroughbred racehorse who became the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup on three occasions. In 2005, she also won the Cox Plate. Upon her retirement from racing in November 2005, Makybe Diva was the highest stakes-earner in Australian horse racing history, finishing with winnings of more than A$14 million. She is one of only five horses to have won the Cup more than once, and the only mare among the list of multiple winners. She is also one of only 14 female horses to have won the Cup.
The Eyre Peninsula is a triangular peninsula in South Australia. It is bounded on the east by Spencer Gulf, the west by the Great Australian Bight, and the north by the Gawler Ranges.
Granite Island, also known by the Ramindjeri people as Nulcoowarra, is a small island next to Victor Harbor, South Australia, about 80 km south of South Australia's capital city, Adelaide.
Michael Redding Pengilly is an Australian politician who is the mayor of Kangaroo Island. He formerly represented the South Australian House of Assembly seat of Finniss from the 2006 election to 2018, representing the Liberal Party.
The southern bluefin tuna is a tuna of the family Scombridae found in open southern Hemisphere waters of all the world's oceans mainly between 30°S and 50°S, to nearly 60°S. At up to 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) and weighing up to 260 kilograms (570 lb), it is among the larger bony fishes.
Sardinops is a monotypic genus of sardines of the family Clupeidae. The only member of the genus is Sardinops sagax. It is found in the Indo-Pacific and East Pacific oceans. Its length is up to 40 cm (16 in). It has numerous common or vernacular names, some of which more appropriately refer to subspecies, including blue pilchard, Australian pilchard, blue-bait, Californian pilchard, Peruvian Pacific sardine(S. s. sagax), South American pilchard, Chilean sardine, Japanese pilchard, Pacific sardine, and Southern African pilchard.
Aquaculture in Australia is the country's fastest growing primary industry, accounting for 34% of the total gross value of production of seafood. 10 species of fish are farmed in Australia, and production is dominated by southern bluefin tuna, Atlantic salmon and barramundi. Mud crabs have also been cultivated in Australia for many years, sometimes leading to over-exploitation. Traditionally, this aquaculture was limited to pearls, but since the early 1970s, there has been significant research and commercial development of other forms of aquaculture, including finfish, crustaceans, and molluscs.
Gnarwarre is a rural locality in the Surf Coast Shire, Victoria, Australia. In the 1800s, the locality was alternately known as Shankhill. In the 2016 census, Gnarwarre had a population of 267 people.
Dr Hagen Heinz Stehr AO is a German-born multi-millionaire businessman, tuna fisherman and founder of the Stehr Group.
Tuna Wranglers (2007) is a documentary film produced by the makers of Deadliest Catch. It follows the exploits of the southern bluefin tuna industry in South Australia as it captures wild fish and transports them to grow-out pens where the fish are fattened up for sale to the Japanese market. It features footage of fishermen diving into tuna pens to wrestle sharks in order to protect their multimillion-dollar stock. The film was directed and produced by Mark Strickson for television and has also been released on DVD in several regions. Critics of the film noted the omission of the southern bluefin tuna's conservation status and the incongruous casting of an American narrator given the exclusively Australian cast and story. The film was produced by NHNZ for the Discovery Channel. A year after its release, the film was acknowledged by the southern bluefin tuna industry as having helped raise its public profile and boosted related tourism activity in the town of Port Lincoln.
Brian Jeffriess is the primary spokesperson for Australia's Southern bluefin tuna fishing and aquaculture industry. He lives in Port Lincoln, South Australia and is the chief executive for the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association. He is a current member of the Australian Maritime and Fisheries Academy, the Commonwealth Fisheries Association, the Aquaculture Advisory Committee and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee. Jeffriess features regularly in the Port Lincoln Times newspaper, where he relates the industry's activities and interests to his local community. He attends the international Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna meetings and works closely with industry and government. On 26 January 2012 Jeffriess was awarded Member of the Order of Australia "for service to the fishing and aquaculture industries as a contributor to the sustainable management and harvesting of Australian fisheries and through national and international professional associations." He has also been awarded State and National Seafood Icon status.
Emma Forster is a South Australian television presenter, director of tourist attraction Swim with the Tuna and advisor for the company, Oceanic Victor. She lives in Port Lincoln where she has developed several properties. She has worked as a presenter on the seafood, fishing and boating television program Out of the Blue, is a friend and business advisor to multi-millionaire tuna rancher Tony Santic and is a former girlfriend of retired South Australian treasurer, Kevin Foley. In 2013, Forster was co-managing her family's business, Calypso Star Charters and her partner was abalone diver David "Bucky" Buckland. In 2014, Forster served as Secretary for the Port Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. Forster is a fisher, and holds longstanding national and South Australian women's and junior records for an eagle ray she caught in Spencer Gulf in 1987 on 10 kg line. The fish weighed 68.5 kilograms and was caught off Thistle Island.
Oceanic Victor is an Australian privately owned company which runs marine tourism facilities on and adjacent to Granite Island, Encounter Bay, South Australia. The company's main attraction is a floating at-sea aquarium containing Southern blue fin tuna and other marine species. The facility is located within a Habitat Protection Zone of the Encounter Marine Park and opened to the public on 2 September 2017.
Ken Martin is a South Australian sculptor.
Clean Seas Seafood Ltd is an Australian seafood production company specialising in the sea-cage aquaculture of Yellowtail kingfish. It was established by The Stehr Group in the year 2000, and became the first Australian company in the sector to be listed on the ASX (2005). The company was established by "tuna baron" Hagen Stehr, whose son Marcus remains one of the company's directors. Its ambition to control and commercialise the lifecycle of the Southern bluefin tuna has not been realised.
Sime (Sam) Sarin was a Croatian fisherman and businessperson instrumental in the development of the Southern bluefin tuna ranching industry and property development in the town of Port Lincoln in South Australia.