Pacific Bluefin Tuna Facts ~ Pacific Bluefin Tuna FAQ & Pictures

by Bob

in Bluefin Tuna

The Pacific bluefin tuna is an apex predator fish that currently holds the record for the world’s most expensive fish. It is found in the northern pacific Ocean, can reach a length of 10 feet and weigh nearly 1,000 pounds.

Pacific bluefin tuna

Pacific bluefin tuna

Here are some neat facts & FAQ on the Pacific bluefin tuna:

How many species of bluefin tuna are there?
There are 3:

Where is the Pacific bluefin tuna found?
They live in the Pacific Ocean from East Asia over to the Northwest coast of the U.S. In the western Pacific, bluefin tuna can be found as far north as the coast of Oregon and as far south as New Zealand. In fact, recent world record Pacific bluefin tuna have been caught off New Zealand.

What other names do they go by?
Bluefin tuna, Northern bluefin tuna, Tuna.

Are Pacific bluefin tuna warm or cold blooded?
They are somewhat warm blooded, more like lukewarm blooded, just not to the extent that mammals and birds are. Tuna have very warm cores by the nature of their highly active lifestyle (as well as their size, a condition called gigantothermy), and when diving into cold waters they are able to shunt some of that heat to needed parts of the body like the eyes, brain, and certain muscle groups via heat-exchangers. They do return to the surface for the purpose of warming back up. They warm parts of their body, but not the whole body.

Are any fish truly warm blooded?
The Opah or moonfish is capable of keeping its entire body warmer than the surrounding water making it the only truly warm blooded fish.

Opah- only warm blooded fish

Southwest Fisheries Science Center biologist Nick Wegner holds a captured opah, the first-ever warm-blooded fish..
Credit: NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center

What do Pacific bluefin tuna eat?
Most anything they can catch including salmon, mackerel, swordfish, saury, sharks, squid, anchovies and other tunas as well.

How do Pacific bluefin tuna catch their prey?
Primarily with speed and agility. They look for balled-up groups of smaller fish and engulf them with a quick lunge. They kind of filter feed smaller animals by grabbing a bunch and squeezing out the water with their mouth.

Do they have any predators?
Killer whales, pilot fish and sharks can feed on young bluefins but not older ones as they are too big and fast.

How fast do Pacific bluefin tuna swim?
Bursts of 30 mph. Not nearly as fast as the Atlantic bluefin tuna. Read more about the fastest ocean animals.

How deep can Pacific bluefin tuna dive?
4,000 feet.

How long do Pacific bluefin tuna live for?
They average 15 years but can live for up to 26 years. 1

Where do Pacific bluefin tuna spawn?
They spawn from April-June in the area near the south of Japan and the Phillipines.

Bluefin Spawning

Aerial photograph of bluefin tuna spawning formation. courtesy NOAA

What is the largest Pacific bluefin tuna ever caught?
A 907 pounder was caught off New Zealand February 19, 2014 and is the largest one ever caught with a rod and reel. Undoubtedly bigger ones have been caught commercially but records aren’t generally kept. Here’s a 981+ pound Pacific bluefin (likely).

Largest Pacific Bluefin Tuna

Donna Pascoe, a New Zealand angler, caught a 907-pound Pacific bluefish tuna on February 19, is the largest of its kind to be caught on a rod and reel. Photo: Donna Pascoe

What is the primary market for the Pacific bluefin tuna?
80% of the Pacific bluefin tuna caught worldwide every year is destined for the sushi restaurants of Japan.

Why is the Pacific bluefin tuna mainly used for sushi?
It’s high fat content makes it tasty when raw, but also leaves a fishy taste and odor when cooked, so cooking any bluefin is not advised.

How are Pacific bluefish tuna commercially caught?
They  are caught by purse seine, longline, trolling and other gears.

How much Pacific bluefin tuna is caught every year?
25,000 tons. Stocks of these bluefins are 4% of what they would be with no fishing.

When are most Pacific bluefin tuna commercially caught?
From May-October.

Is it ever sold as canned tuna?
No. Canned tuna is either albacore (white meat) or a mixture of mostly skipjack and some yellowfin tuna (light tuna). All bluefin tunas are mainly caught for the sashimi and sushi market.

What is the difference between sushi and sashimi? 2

  • Sushi is vinegared rice that may or may not be served with raw fish
  • Sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish

Are Pacific bluefin tuna endangered?
No. They are considered vulnerable which is one step below endangered. IUCN Status
ontinued, unsustainable overfishing will undoubtedly lead to their extinction unless they are better managed.

What is the population of Pacific bluefin tuna?
Estimated at 40,00 adults (2014). 3

Are Pacific bluefin tuna farmed ?
Yes. Japanese scientists from Kinki University have a successful Pacific bluefin aquaculture program that generates 80 tons of bluefins per year with plans to raise that total to 240 tons by 2020.

Will farming save the Pacific bluefin tuna?
It might be the only way save them and other vulnerable fish from extinction.
In 2009 Australian tuna baron Hagen Stehr warned that aquaculture was the only viable way of meeting a growing demand for seafood.
That is the only way we will be eating seafood into the years ahead. Anyone who invests in sustainable aquaculture practices will make it big time in the future,” Mr Stehr said.

pacific bluefin tuna-are tuna warm blooded-pacific bluefin tuna taste-

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