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Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii & Thunnus thynnus) Photographs and Information

The southern bluefin tuna, Thunnus maccoyii, 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 m (8.2 ft) and weighing up to 400 kg (882 lbs) it is among the larger bony fishes.

The southern bluefin tuna is a large, streamlined, fast swimming fish with a long, slender caudal peduncle and relatively short dorsal, pectoral and anal fins. The body is completely covered in small scales.

The body color is blue-black on the back and silver-white on the flanks and belly, with bright yellow caudal keels in adult specimens. The first dorsal fin colour is grey with a yellow tinge, the second dorsal is red-brown, and the finlets are yellow with a darker border.

Southern bluefin tuna, like other pelagic tuna species, are part of a group of bony fishes that can maintain their body core temperature up to 10 degrees above the ambient temperature. This advantage enables them to maintain high metabolic output for predation and migrating large distances. The southern bluefin tuna is an opportunistic feeder, preying on a wide variety of fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, salps, and other marine animals.

Southern Bluefin Tuna are an Endangered species

The Northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a species of tuna in the Scombridae family. It is variously known as the Atlantic bluefin tuna, giant bluefin tuna (for individuals exceeding 150 kilograms or around 330 pounds) and formerly as the tunny. Atlantic bluefin are native to both the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Atlantic bluefin have become extinct in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The Atlantic bluefin tuna is a close relative of the other two bluefin tuna species—the Pacific bluefin tuna and the southern bluefin tuna.

Atlantic bluefin tuna are capable of reaching well over 450 kilograms (992 lb) in weight, and rival the black marlin and blue marlin as the largest Perciformes. Throughout recorded history, the Atlantic bluefin tuna has been highly prized as a food fish. Bluefin have been a valuable commercial catch from the time of the ancient Greeks and Phoenicians to the modern era. Besides their commercial value as food, their great size and the speed and power they display as apex predators has attracted the admiration and respect of both ancient and modern fishermen, as well as writers, sport anglers and scientists.

southern bluefin tuna, thunnus maccoyii

Map showing where Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii & Thunnus thynnus) are found in Australian waters

Did you know? Bluefin tunas have streamlined bodies built for speed and endurance. They can even retract their dorsal and pectoral fins into slots to reduce drag.

Did you know? In January 2001, a prime, 444-lb (201-kg) bluefin tuna sold in a Japanese fish market for $173,600 (¥20.2 million), a world record.

Did you know? Bluefin Tuna are warm-blooded, a rare trait among fish

Did you know?  Bluefin Tuna can reach speeds of up to 70 km/hr and are known as "The Porsche of the Sea"

Did you know?
Tuna cannot pump water over their gills like other fish, instead they swim with their mouths open which forces the water over their gills. If they stop swimming they will suffocate.

Did you know?
Tuna have hearts that are much larger than other fish, they are about 10 times as large, relative to the size of the body.

Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Tuna fillet.

Kilojoules 521 (124 calories)
Cholesterol 30 mg
Sodium 37 g
Total fat (oil) 0.5 g
Saturated fat 33% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 13% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 54% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 14 mg
Omega-3, DHA 100 mg
Omega-6, AA 15 mg

Angling for Bluefin Tuna | Tuna Fishing :

It is a prized sporting fish which will take small lures and also live bait.      

They travel in schools of similar sized fish. Their diet consists of a variety of crustaceans, cephalopods, and fish including anchovies and pilchards.

The most popular method of catch this powerful, hard fighting fish is trolling. It can also be taken from boats or from the shore using live scombroid fishes (mackerels and little tunas) for bait. It is rarely taken on dead baits. Hooked fish are prone to fast surface runs and deep sounding.

Current Southern Bluefin Tuna All Tackle Record (IGFA) 369 lbs. 4 ounces.

Current Pacific Bluefin Tuna All Tackle Record (IGFA) 716 lbs. 8 ounces.

Current Atlantic Bluefin Tuna All Tackle Record (IGFA) 1496 lbs. 0 ounces.


About Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australia:

Distribution - Southern bluefin tuna are highly migratory pelagic fish. In Australian waters they range from northern NSW around southern Australia to north-western Australia. They tend to form large surface schools in offshore waters off southern Australia at certain times of the year. Overfishing has drastically reduced its numbers.

Size - Southern bluefin tuna can reach a maximum length of 2.35 metres and can attain a weight of around 200kg, but rarely exceed 100kg in Australian waters.

Characteristics - Southern bluefin tuna are a member of the family Scombridae and are recognised by their relatively short pectoral fins and robust body. Their upper bodies are blackish-blue and the underside is a silver colour. Juvenile and adult southern bluefin are opportunistic feeders that feed mainly on squid, crustaceans, fish and planktonic animals.

Confusing Species - Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol) are similar in appearance to southern bluefin, but can be distinguished by their shorter pectoral fins and dark caudal keels.

Video:  700lb Bluefin Tuna:

Video: World Record of Giant Bluefin Tuna 1496 lbs Ken Fraser:

Cooking Bluefin Tuna:

All bluefin species are highly prized for sushi and sashimi

Colour of Raw fillet:

Pink to red.


Medium to Firm.

Fat Content:

Low to high.


Rich, mild and meaty when cooked.

Microwave Cooking Times for Fish
- Fish fillets – 5 minutes per 500g on medium-high, +50 seconds more for thicker fillets, or until flesh flakes
- Whole fish - Large – 6 minutes/750g on medium
- Whole fish – Small – 3-4 minutes on medium


Recipes for Tuna from How To Cook Fish


recipe tuna rolls recipe photo spicy tuna recipe photo tuna melt cheese recipe photo tuna salad
Baked Salmon or Tuna Rolls Spicy Tuna Roll Tuna Melt Cheese Tuna Salad

Commercial Fishing for Bluefin Tuna:

Bluefin are captured for the commercial market by professional fishermen using purse seine gear, assorted hook-and-line gear, most importantly the longline, and in certain areas by harpooners. Atlantic bluefin are also taken commercially by heavy rod and reel gear.

The main methods of fishing have varied over the years but have included pole and line fishing (using live baits), sea-surface set baited long lines (often many kilometres long) and purse seine enclosure nets.

Some 98 per cent of Australia's SBT catch today is taken by purse seiners and transferred into sea cages anchored off Port Lincoln, South Australia, where they are fattened for sale, primarily to Japan.

The Australian SBT fishery is managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) on behalf of the Australian Government. AFMA can determine a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the fishery of, at most, the allocation to Australia determined by the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (the Commission).

Video: Australian Bluefin - Fishing with Vision. Commercial poling for Bluefin Tuna


AUSTRALIA'S SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA stocks will be protected after federal Environment Minister Tony Burke listed the species under national laws. The tuna would be listed as "conservation dependent", he said on Wednesday.

Professor Craig Franklin from the University of Queensland welcomed the new listing. "It's important and it's well overdue," he says. "The species has been under pressure for a long time due to its value."

Ninety per cent of southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) are caught near the Great Australian Bight, in South Australia, as juveniles. They are then farmed until they reach maturity, and sold to a dozen international markets, including Japan where the meat is prized for use as sashimi.

"While ongoing improvements in management measures are helping to stabilise the population, the breeding population is still considered to be less than eight per cent of unfished levels," the minister says.

One of these improvements was made by the Port Lincoln-based fishing company Clean Seas, which in 2009 became the first company in the world to breed southern bluefin tuna in captivity.

Fishing still allowed

However, the listing would not restrict fishing or burden the fishing industry with regulation, the minister added. "Fishing can continue under existing arrangements, but it will now be a legal requirement that the species remain under a plan of management that includes actions to stop its decline and support its long-term recovery," he says.

Tony stressed that only global management could help the migratory species recover.

Australia is one of the countries in the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, which sets global southern bluefin tuna catch quota levels. The commission aims to reduce the global southern bluefin tuna catch by 20 per cent over the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

In October 2009, the Australian quota for catching bluefin tuna was cut from 5,265 t to 4,015 t. However, that's not low enough for environmental group Greenpeace, which argues the species is on the brink of collapse and has been lobbying for a zero catch to be imposed until 2030.

From Australian Marine Conservation Society (Sustainable Seafood Guide):

WILD CAUGHT SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA: Predominantly purse seine caught with minor longline catches; overfished with a severely depleted population; assessed as ‘critically endangered’ by the IUCN and threatened in NSW and VIC; Australian fishery mostly targets juveniles for fattening up in sea cage aquaculture operations; long-lived, late-maturing species that is vulnerable to fishing pressure; potential negative ecosystem effects of severe depletion of this high level predator species.

FARMED SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA: Farmed in sea cages after wild capture; mostly caught as juveniles in the wild before being transferred to sea cages for fattening up; very poor feed conversion ratio, meaning less fish is produced than is fed to the Tuna; feed sourced from fisheries with dolphin bycatch issues.

Exporters of Bluefin Tuna 

Importers of Bluefin Tuna 

Processors of Bluefin Tuna 

Wholesale Suppliers of Bluefin Tuna 

Seafood Agents for Bluefin Tuna 

Canned Tuna Buyers & Suppliers

More links about Bluefin Tuna and Tuna Information
Blue Fin Tuna - The Tuna Research and Conservation Center The Tuna Research and Conservation Center is a collaboration between Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station and The Monterey Bay Aquarium. The mission of the Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC) is to advance the knowledge and understanding of tunas and other highly migratory marine fishes through research, education, and conservation.

Great Site for Information on Tuna Tagging and Research.

Bluefin tuna are monumental in size, speed, power, value, and charisma. They are among the largest fish on earth and make trans-oceanic migrations at speeds to rival the fastest racehorses. They dive to abyssal depths of nearly a mile and ply waters from the equator to frigid polar seas. Amazingly, they have the capacity to maintain a warm, stable body temperature throughout their wide thermal niche like a mammal or bird. They have captivated humans for millennia; images of bluefin once graced the same coins as Hercules

The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for the management of southern bluefin tuna throughout its distribution. The CCSBT's objective is to ensure, through appropriate management, the conservation and optimum utilisation of southern bluefin tuna. Members of the Extended Commission comprise: Australia, the Fishing Entity of Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand. Cooperating Non-Members comprise: the Philippines, South Africa and the European Union

The Australian Marine Conservation Society - Fact sheets about Southern Bluefin Tuna. How old do bluefin tuna get?  How long can they grow?  How heavy are bluefin tuna?  When do they breed?

West Coast Tuna Fishing History - The Rise & Fall of the Tuna Industry in San Diego USA. Written by Arnold Fernandes - The Tuna Industry in San Diego was started by the Chinese and Japanese in the early 1890s and then was dominated by the Portuguese and Italians in the early 1920's and up until the late 1980's. Many of the San Diego Fishermen started out on the East Coast and ended up in San Diego, California to escape the ruthless storms and bitter cold of the North Atlantic Ocean. My father came to the East Coast from Portugal and started out as a doryman on the Gloucester Schooners fishing off of the Grand Banks in the North Atlantic.......

San Diego Tuna Boats - Hi, my name is Jimmy, I’m second generation Portuguese on my Dad’s side and first generation on my Mom’s. I've always had a passion for Tuna Boats and their colorful history and have, over the years, amassed a large library of photos and many stories to go with them. In the hopes of keeping some of this history alive........

Tuna Association of Ecuador - Tuna Association of Ecuador, Atunec, is headquartered in the city of Manta, Ecuador, Manabi province, which accounts for the main fleet of vessels fishing for tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Tuna vessel owners union members to generate strategies working in partnership and defense of their interests, seek common solutions to optimize the operations of the national fishing fleet and, in particular the associated

Commonwealth Fisheries Association - The Commonwealth Fisheries Association is committed to ensuring the commercial fishing industry is recognised for its contribution to Australia’s economy, society and environment. CFA achieves this by promoting and advocating the value of the industry and the healthy seafood it provides to the community. Commonwealth wild harvest fisheries are among the best managed and environmentally sustainable fisheries in the world. Our members are committed to managing fisheries for Australia’s food security, community well-being and healthy marine eco-systems.



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