Bluefin Facts

  • The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest of the tuna species.
  • Maximum lengths can exceed 13 feet and weights of up to nearly 2,000 pounds have been reported in various fisheries in the western Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.
  • As large predators, bluefin tuna play an important role in pelagic ecosystems.
  • Bluefin tuna are able to reach speeds in excess of 45mph in short bursts.
  • Juveniles prey primarily on fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods, and adults feed primarily on fish such as herring, anchovy, sand lance, sardine, sprat, bluefish, and mackerel.
  • Bluefin tuna are able to thermoregulate, which means they can keep their body temperature warmer than the surrounding water.
  • The species is managed as two stocks, one in the eastern Atlantic/ Mediterranean Sea and the other in the western Atlantic.
  • The western Atlantic stock of bluefin tuna, primarily fished by the United States, Canada, and Japan, is managed under a rebuilding program adopted in 1998.
  • It was most recently revised in 2010 with a lower total allowable catch.
  • The U.S. fishery harvest from the western Atlantic stock is managed through NOAA’s Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan.
  • Directed Atlantic bluefin tuna fisheries are prohibited in the Gulf of Mexico, and the landing of incidentally caught bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico is subject to strict target catch requirements.