There are five major commercial species of tuna, each with its own characteristics and geographic limits.

To learn more about the status of these stocks, read our Status of the Stocks reports.

Skipjack

Skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), the smallest of the commercial tuna species, form both free schools and schools associated with floating objects. Found mainly in the tropical areas of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, they are the principal species associated with FADs and are caught in conjunction with juvenile yellowfin and bigeye tunas.

SPECIES CHARACTERISTICS

Size (cm) Weight (kg) Age (yrs)
Common 40-80
Maximum 108 33 6-10
Maturity 43 1.6 1-1.5

GEOGRAPHIC LIMITS

  • 55-60o North and 45-50o South
  • The greatest abundance is seen in equatorial water

SPECIES MANAGEMENT

The following five Skipjack stocks are assessed and managed by the RFMOs:

  • Eastern Atlantic
  • Western Atlantic
  • Eastern Pacific
  • Western Pacific
  • Indian Ocean
See Skipjack-related News

Bigeye

Bigeye (Thunnus Obesus) can form either free schools or are associated with floating objects; juvenile Bigeye will form schools with juvenile Yellowfin and Skipjack tunas.

SPECIES CHARACTERISTICS

Size (cm) Weight (kg) Age (yrs)
Common 40-180 1.4-130
Maximum 230 210 15
Maturity 102-135 25-57 3-4

GEOGRAPHIC LIMITS

  • From 55-60° North and 45-50° South
  • Juveniles are seen in the equatorial region while adults are found at higher latitudes

SPECIES MANAGEMENT

The following four Bigeye stocks are assessed and managed by the RFMOs:

  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Eastern Pacific
  • Western Pacific
  • Indian Ocean
See Bigeye-related News

Bluefin

Bluefin (Thunnus spp.) are the largest of the tunas, with Atlantic Bluefin reaching 3 meters in length. They are a temperate water fish comprised of three species:

  • North Atlantic Bluefin (Thunnus thynnus thynnus)
  • Pacific Bluefin (Thunnus orientalis)
  • Southern Bluefin (Thunnus maccoyii)

SPECIES CHARACTERISTICS

Size (cm) Weight (kg) Age (yrs)
Common 80-200
Maximum 300 (BFT) 668 (BFT) 25+
Maturity 110-190 30-120 4-14

GEOGRAPHIC LIMITS

  • Bluefin have the widest geographical distribution of all tunas, including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Southern Hemisphere

SPECIES MANAGEMENT

The following four Bluefin stocks are assessed and managed by the RFMOs:

  • Western Atlantic
  • Eastern Atlantic (including the Mediterranean)
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Southern Hemisphere
See Bluefin-related News

Yellowfin

Yellowfin (Thunnus Albacares) form both free and associated schools with adults generally forming schools of similarly sized individuals. The free-swimming schools tend to contain large individuals and are mono-specific. In the Eastern Pacific, schools are often associated with dolphin pods, which is not common elsewhere.

SPECIES CHARACTERISTICS

Size (cm) Weight (kg) Age (yrs)
Common 40-170 1.2-100
Maximum 205 194 8
Maturity 85-108 12-26 2-3

GEOGRAPHIC LIMITS

  • From 20° South, although in the Pacific Ocean they occur mainly form 20o North and South

SPECIES MANAGEMENT

The following four Yellowfin stocks are assessed and managed by the RFMOs:

  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Eastern Pacific
  • Western Pacific
  • Indian Ocean
See Yellowfin-related News

Albacore

Albacore (Thunnus alalunga), one of the smaller major tuna species, is a temperate species widely distributed in temperate and tropical waters. Albacore tend to travel in single species schools, without the level of mixing seen with other species. Association with floating objects is not common.

SPECIES CHARACTERISTICS

Size (cm) Weight (kg) Age (yrs)
Common 40-100
Maximum 130
Maturity 75-90 8-15 2-5

GEOGRAPHIC LIMITS

  • Generally limited to temperate and tropical waters
  • From 45-50o North and 30-40o South in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Ranges from 5o North to 40o South in the Indian Ocean, with adults occurring from 5o North to 25o South

SPECIES MANAGEMENT

The following six Albacore stocks are assessed and managed by the RFMOs:

  • North Pacific Ocean
  • South Pacific Ocean
  • North Atlantic Ocean
  • South Atlantic Ocean
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Indian Ocean
See Albacore-related News