About the Bluefin Tuna

Scientific Name Thunnus thynnus
Lenght 2–2.5 m
Weight 225–250 kg
Speed 75 km/h
Lifespan 15 years
Diet carnivore
Conservation status endangered

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Atlantic Bluefin tuna is one of the (if not the) most impressive fish swimming in the ocean: is a big fish (may be bigger than 2 meters in length and weight more than 250 kg) and it is very fast thanks to his torpedo shape which reduces water resistance and may swim at more than 40 knots (75 Km /h). Bluefin Tuna is warm blooded, can stay in both, cold and warm waters. Is a long-standing fish, an average life span in the wild of 15 years. It’s a carnivore top predator, eats almost any fish, squid, shrimp smaller than him.

Population and Migration

Atlantic Bluefin tuna is divided into two main populations, one in the Eastern and another one in the Western Atlantic. In the Western Atlantic its population goes from Canada to Brasil, including Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

In the Eastern Atlantic, it is possible to find bluefin tuna from Norway to the Canary islands, and also in the Mediterranean and Southern Black Sea. Is a highly migratory specie, and despite most individuals remain in one side of the Atlantic, some specimens have been tracked swimming from North American to European waters several times a year.

Individuals in the Eastern population are distributed between Norway and the Canary islands, and can travel thousands of kilometers within a few months. Migration from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean goes near the North coasts of the Strait of Gibraltar and follows its journey to the Eastern Mediterranean regions.

It occurs between April and May, having the spawning season between May and July. They go back to the Atlantic between August and September.

Western migration
Eastern migration

Economic and Historical Importance

Bluefin tuna s an iconic species, and fundamental in the making of the shared Mediterranean identity. It was instrumental in the process of exploration and colonisation in the Mediterranean, and one of the most ancient industries in the world. It lead to settlements and trade routes across the region, supporting an important economy that has survived to the present day, targeting the fish along its migratory routes from the Atlantic ocean into its Mediterranean breeding grounds.

Bluefin Tuna tuna is the primary economic resource for whole communities dispersed across its range. This species represents the globalised seafood market and is one of the most valuable and targeted species on Earth, sustaining a global industry that generates €1b yearly. Bluefin tuna population decline caused international alarm a decade ago and ICCAT adopted a 15 years recovery plan for Bluefin tuna in East Atlantic and Mediterranean. Thanks to the EU commitment and leadership towards sustainable management, nowadays Bluefin Tuna is an international success story of a critical fishery that nearly collapsed being now successfully recovering.