Bluefin tuna is one of the rarest and most expensive delicacies in the world, but where it is found?
Bluefin tuna is split up into three different species: Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern. Respectively, they can be found in the Pacific Ocean, the North Atlantic and Meditteranean sea, and the Indian Ocean.
Read on to learn more about Bluefin tuna and why it holds so much importance in the culinary world.
The three species of Bluefin tuna are some seriously impressive fish. They boast a considerable size, they’re incredible swimmers, and they have one of the highest values out of any food taken from the ocean.
When it’s fully grown, a Bluefin tuna can reach around thirteen feet in length, and weigh as much as two thousand pounds. It can live for around forty years and isn’t afraid of migration, traveling almost at will around the world.
However, all species of the Bluefin tuna are marked as endangered by the world’s environmental bodies. As a result of severe overfishing, the market for Bluefin tuna is under some close scrutiny from organizations like WWF or the NOAA.
It’s estimated around seventy-percent of all Bluefin tuna consumed is eaten in Japan. This nation, the natural home of sushi and sashimi, consumes Bluefin tuna in huge amounts, and it’s here where the fish are most valuable.
In late-2020, Japan’s government put forth a motion that would allow them to fish around twenty-percent more Bluefin than they already were. They were catching massive amounts of fish from the Pacific Ocean, but it wasn’t enough for the country, it seems.
Although, it’s not just in the Pacific Ocean that Bluefin tuna occurs. There are three species of Bluefin, as we’ve mentioned, and each one occurs in different bodies of water all around the world.
Aside from the Pacific Bluefin, there’s also the Atlantic Bluefin, and the Southern Bluefin. Most of the Atlantic Bluefin is actually taken from around the Meditteranean, but the Southern Bluefin occurs in the Indian Ocean.
There’s a huge amount of Bluefin tuna caught in the Gulf of Mexico – some of the biggest and best examples, in fact. In 2019, a fisherman caught an enormous Atlantic Bluefin weighing more than eight hundred pounds.
Huge Fish, Massive Implications
It’s estimated that the population of Bluefin tuna around the world may be as little as two percent of what it used to be. As a result, many governing bodies around the world have worked to implement anti-extinction methods and practices.
There are restrictions on the amount of Bluefin tuna that can be fished in most countries, with some being stricter than others. In some places, Bluefin tuna of a certain size can’t be ‘retained’, but they can be tagged and released for tracking.
This practice was recorded in 2019 when a group of Irish fishermen caught a six-hundred-pound tuna. However, they weren’t fishing for the catch, but for the release.
They tagged the tuna, took a photo with it, and then released it back into the ocean.
There have been records of the fish being commercially caught as far back as the 1950s. The high quality of the meat and the yield produced from each catch quickly made Bluefin a popular source of food.
Today, Bluefin tuna can cost as much as two-hundred dollars per pound, but there seems to be no upper limit on the fish. For example, in 2019 a massive Bluefin was auctioned off for a record value of three million dollars.
That particular example cost a sushi restaurant around five thousand dollars per pound. Reportedly, the man who purchased it knew he’d paid too much, but he simply had to have the fish.
Bizarrely, that Bluefin wasn’t the biggest that had ever been caught – not by far. The unbroken record for a Bluefin tuna stands at just under fifteen hundred pounds.
In October of 1979, a veteran fisherman caught the biggest Bluefin tuna the world had – and still has – ever seen. More than forty years later, that record hasn’t come close to being beaten.
If that particular Bluefin was to be sold at the same auction like the one we’ve mentioned above, it would fetch a dizzying price. At five-thousand dollars a pound, it would sell for just under seven and a half million dollars.
That’s a lot of sashimi.