The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a species of tuna in the Scombridae family. It is variously known as the northern bluefin tuna (mainly when including Pacific bluefin as a subspecies), giant bluefin tuna (for individuals exceeding 150 kilograms or around 330 pounds) and formerly as the tunny.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna is regarded as one of the most prized species in the ocean. It’s also one of the biggest, reaching average lengths of 6.5 feet, and weighing about 550lbs. One fish can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Bluefin tuna are at the top of the food chain, giving them an important role in the ecosystem.
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. 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 may exceed 450 kilograms (990 lb) in weight, and rival the black marlin, blue marlin and swordfish as the largest Perciformes. Throughout recorded history, the Atlantic bluefin tuna has been highly prized as a food fish. Besides their commercial value as food, the great size, speed, and power they display as apex predators has attracted the admiration of fishermen, writers, and scientists. The Atlantic bluefin tuna has been the foundation of one of the world’s most lucrative commercial fisheries. Medium-sized and large individuals are heavily targeted for the Japanese raw fish market, where all bluefin species are highly prized for sushi and sashimi.
Atlantic bluefin tuna, aka blue fin tuna, blue-fin tunny, bluefin tuna, horse mackerels, northern bluefin tuna, and squid hounds; are regarded as one of the most highly evolved fish species and one of the most prized fish in danger of overfishing. Tuna, originating from the Greek word meaning “to rush,” usually swim at speeds of 1.5-4 knots, can maintain 8 knots for some time, and can break 20 knots for short periods. These are one of the most magnificent fishes in the sea. One fish can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A 342 kg tuna sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market for 32.49 million yen ($396,700 US dollars), the highest price for a single fish since record-keeping began in 1999, that’s 95,000 yen ($1,157) per kg!
Most Bluefin are captured commercially by professional fishermen using longlines, purse seines, assorted hook-and-line gear, heavy rod and reels, and harpoon. Recreationally, bluefin has been one of the most important big-game species sought by sports fishermen since the 1930s, particularly in the United States but also in Canada, Spain, France and Italy.