- December 31, 2015
- Posted by: Rosa Blanca Fish
- Category: Species
The Atlantic Bluefin tuna is one of the largest, fastest, and most beautifully colored fish in the world. Their torpedo-shaped, streamlined bodies are built for speed and endurance. They have a blue-metallic color on top and bright silver bottom which helps provide camouflage from above and below. Their voracious appetite and varied diet can cause this fish to grow to a whopping 6.5 feet (2 meters) long and 550 pounds (250 kilograms), although much larger specimens are not uncommon.
Unfortunately for the species red tuna meat is considered incomparably delicious, especially among consumers of sashimi, and overfishing has led to a critical decrease in their numbers.
Bluefin tuna of the Atlantic are warm-blooded, a rare trait among fish, and are comfortable in the cold waters of Newfoundland and Iceland as well as the tropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea, where they go every year to spawn. They are migratory ambitiously among fish, some tagged individuals have been tracked swimming from North America to European waters several times a year.
Bluefin Tuna are highly prized among anglers for their struggle and speed. Shooting through the water with their powerful tails that are shaped like a crescent, they can travel up to 43 miles (70 kilometers) per hour. They can retract their dorsal and pectoral fins in order to reduce drag and some scientists believe that the series of "finlets" on their tails may even serve to reduce turbulence.
Bluefin’s reach their enormous size by constantly gorging on smaller fish, crustaceans, squid and eels. They also filter-feed on zooplankton and other small bodies, they have even been observed eating algae. The largest tuna ever recorded was caught in the Atlantic in Nova Scotia it weighed 1,496 pounds (679 kilograms).
Bluefin tuna have been eaten by humans for centuries, however in the 1970s demand and prices for large tuna soared worldwide, especially in Japan, and commercial fishing operations found new ways to find and catch these elegant giants. As a result the number of Bluefin tuna, especially the large fish of reproductive age, have plummeted and international conservation efforts have led to restrictions on commercial decision. It is said that illegal fishing in Europe is now pushing the populations of the Atlantic Bluefin tuna to the verge of extinction.