This page has bluefin tuna articles, techniques, artwork, links and more.
Bluefin tuna are noted for having a large, torpedo-shaped body that is nearly circular in cross-section. Adults are dark blueish-black on the back and white on the lower sides and belly. On live bluefin, a pattern of lines alternate with rows of spots on the lower sides.
The second dorsal fin is reddish brown. The color of the dorsal fin, the number of gill rakers on the first arch, and the very short pectoral fins separate this species from other members of the tuna genus, Thunnus.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
Atlantic bluefin tuna sometimes exceed 1000 pounds and 9 feet in length. The IGFA record Atlantic bluefin weighed 1,496 pounds and was caught off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada in 1979.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna is one of the world's most valuable fish. A large bluefin tuna can bring $10,000 or more at auction. The meat of bluefins is preferred for sushi and sashimi.
They are long lived pelagic fish that live and migrate in the open ocean. Atlantic bluefin tuna are caught with purse seines, handgear (rod and reel, handline, and harpoon), and longlines.
Data from tagged fish have revealed that bluefin tuna routinely swim across the Atlantic, with fish tagged off the coast of North America visiting spawning grounds in the Mediterranean and in the Gulf of Mexico.
How To Cook Tuna
Tuna is consumed in a variety of ways. Tuna is the most well known and available fish in the USA and many other parts of the world due to it's popularity as a canned product. Most of us grew up on tuna salad sandwiches and associate that experience with tuna as a meal.
Readers that have been lucky enough to enjoy fresh caught tuna know that there is quite a difference between a canned tuna salad sandwich and a fresh grilled tuna steak!
Fresh tuna is delicious grilled, blackened, or as sushi. Those of us that still love tuna salad can enjoy tuna from the can or use leftover grilled tuna to create a unique and delightful tuna salad with a unique flavor.
Smoked fish lovers will be thrilled to know that tuna is excellent smoked. The finished product makes wonderful smoked fish dips, salads or just eaten cold as is.
Bluefin Tuna Sizes
Traditionally, the National Marine Fisheries Service sets limits on Atlantic bluefin tuna based on the following size classes:
school BFT (27 to less than 47 inches)
large school/small medium BFT (47 - less than 73 inches)
trophy (73 inches or greater)
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Dr. William T. Hogarth, Director of NOAA Fisheries Service on Tuna
Dr. William T. Hogarth, Director of NOAA Fisheries Service, head of the U.S. delegation to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, and chairman of ICCAT has issued a statement regarding the need for stronger conservation measures in the Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery. In particular, he calls for a three-to-five year moratorium on eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna fisheries. Given continued blatant violations of catch limits, closed areas, and reporting requirements in the eastern Atlantic fisheries, international cooperation to support a moratorium is urgently needed. ICCAT scientists have noted a high risk of stock collapse if overfishing in these areas is allowed to continue. Because the western stock of bluefin tuna intermixes with the much larger eastern stock, there is also serious concern about the impact of uncontrolled eastern bluefin catches on bluefin tuna caught by U.S. fishermen in the western Atlantic.
Hogarth discusses the proposed moratorium in greater detail in his column, Bill's Corner.
Should Bluefin Tuna Be Listed as an Endangered Species?
In 2011, after years of debate by fishermen, scientists, environmentalists an others, NOAA announced that Atlantic bluefin tuna currently do not warrant species protection under the Endangered Species Act.