(Linnaeus, 1758); SCOMBRIDAE FAMILY; also called Atlantic bluefin tuna,
tunny fish, horse mackerel
Occurs in subtropical and temperate waters of the north Pacific Ocean,
the North Atlantic Ocean, and in the Mediterranean and Black seas.
It is a pelagic, schooling, highly migratory species. The smallest fish
form the largest schools and vice versa. Its extensive migrations of all
fish, appear to be tied to water temperature, spawning habits, and the
seasonal movements of fishes on which the bluefin feeds. The giants of
the species make the longest migrations.
This is the largest tuna and one of the largest true bony fish. It can
be distinguished from almost all others by its rather short pectoral fins
which extend only as far back as the eleventh or twelfth spine in the first
dorsal fin. There are 12-14 spines in the first dorsal fin and 13-15 rays
in the second. The anal fin has 11-15 rays. It has the highest gill raker
count of any species of Thunnus with 34-43 on the first arch. The ventral
surface of the liver is striated and the middle lobe is usually the largest.
The anal fin and the finlets are dusky yellow edged with black. The lateral
keel is black in adults.
Its diet consists of squid, eels and crustaceans as well as pelagic schooling
fish such as mackerel, flying fish, herring, whiting, and mullet. During
spawning which occurs in the summer or spring, a giant female may shed
25 million or more eggs. Bluefins grow rapidly and may be 2 ft (0.6 m)
in length and weigh 9 lb (4 kg) by the end of their first year. By age
14 they may be over 8 ft (2 m) long and weigh 700 lb (318 kg).
Fishing methods include still fishing or trolling with live or dead bait
such as mackerel, herring, mullet, or squid; and trolling with artificial
lures including spoons, plugs, or feathers.
are supreme in their size, strength and speed, and are a very important
game fish. They are also extremely important commercially
in many parts of the world