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Bluefin Tuna illustration

Bluefin Tuna

World Record ~ 1496 Lbs at Aulds Cove, Nova Scotia on Oct. 26, 1979 by angler Ken Fraser

Scientific name ~  Thunnus Thynnus

Other names ~ Bluefin Tuna, Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, Blue Fin Tuna, Bluefin Tunny, Blue-fin tunny, Northern Bluefin Tuna

Identification ~  The body is a metallic deep blue above and the lower sides and belly are silvery white. When first caught, alternating colorless lines and rows of dots can be seen along the lower sides. The first dorsal fin is yellow or blue, the second is red or brown. The anal fin and finlets are yellow, edged with black. The central caudal keel is black. The bluefin tuna is one of the largest of the tunas. The body is deepest near the insertion of the pelvic fins, and tapers significantly to the caudal peduncle. Compared to other tunas, the head is long and somewhat pointed, and the eye is small. Two dorsal fins are present, with a small space separating them.

Size ~  The maximum length reported is 180 inches total length. Angler caught Bluefin from 16 inches to 80 inches are common. Adult Bluefin range in weight from 300 pounds to 1500 pounds, but fish over a 1,000 pounds are rare. Bluefin commonly attain a size of 78 inches. It is believed that bluefin tuna has a life span of approximately 15 years.

Habitat ~ This tuna is epipelagic and oceanic, coming near shore seasonally. It can tolerate a considerable range of temperatures and has been observed both above and below the thermocline, down to depths of greater than 3000 feet (9,850 m).

Bluefin tuna exhibit strong schooling behavior while they are young. While schooling is believed to be sight oriented, schools have been observed at night. Therefore, other senses (particularly the lateral line) appear to be involved in this behavior. Schools of bluefin seasonally migrate northward during the summer months along the coast of Japan and the Pacific coast of North America. The bluefin tuna is distributed throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in subtropical and temperate waters. In the western Atlantic Ocean, it is found from Labrador, Canada, to northern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it is found from Norway to the Canary Islands. In the western Pacific Ocean, it is distributed from Japan to the Philippines. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, it is distributed from the southern coast of Alaska, USA to Baja California, Mexico

Feeding Habits ~ Bluefin feed on squid, eels, crustaceans, and pelagic schooling fish such as mackerel, flying fish, herring, whiting, and mullet.    

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