Chordates •

Atlantic bluefin tuna

(Thunnus orientalis)


The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a species of tuna in the family Scombridae. It is variously known as the northern bluefin tuna (mainly when including Pacific bluefin as a subspecies), giant bluefin tuna (for individuals exceeding 150 kg (330 lb), and formerly as the tunny. Atlantic bluefins are native to both the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. They 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 have been recorded at up to 680 kg (1,500 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. This commercial importance has led to severe overfishing. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas affirmed in October 2009 that Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks had declined dramatically over the last 40 years, by 72% in the Eastern Atlantic, and by 82% in the Western Atlantic. On 16 October 2009, Monaco formally recommended endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna for an Appendix I CITES listing and international trade ban. In early 2010, European officials, led by the French ecology minister, increased pressure to ban the commercial fishing of bluefin tuna internationally. However, a UN proposal to protect the species from international trade was voted down (68 against, 20 for, 30 abstaining). Since then, enforcement of regional fishing quotas has led to some increases in population. As of 4 September 2021 the Atlantic bluefin tuna was moved from the category of Endangered to the category of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, many regional populations are still severely depleted, including western stocks which spawn in the Gulf of Mexico.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Actinopterygii
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