The scientific name of Atlantic Bluefin tuna
is Thunnus thynnus L. This is believed to have links to the Greek verb θύνω (thúnō), meaning “to rush, to dart along” and may have something to do with the bluefin’s speed under the water.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna has been fished
in the Mediterranean since the time of the Phoenicians (around 1,000 B.C.) and it is present in the writings of Ancient Greek and Latin philosophers who were always fascinated by their size and agility. Our biggest tuna was 3.2 metres long and weighed a staggering 687 kilograms.
Bluefin tuna are capable of maintaining
elevated body temperatures by a system of heat exchangers within their circulatory system. This capability enables them to inhabit a wide range of temperatures and depths, and gives the fish the ability to perform long transatlantic migrations.
They migrate to spawning areas every year and a single 15 year-old female can carry as much as 45 million eggs.
Bluefin tunas are opportunistic predators
and are known to dive to depths exceeding 1 kilometre. Herring, anchovy, mackerel and sardines are their favourite food but they may also feed on other marine life including squids and shrimps.
The health of the Atlantic bluefin tuna
stock declined at one point but improved management in recent years by ICCAT and its member fishing nations has helped it recover. Indications are now the stock has recovered that and that the fishery is sustainable at present catch levels.