Pacific Bluefin Tuna

Pacific Bluefin Tuna: Quick Facts

Scientific name: Thunnus orientalis

Other names: Bluefin, Northern bluefin tuna (Australia), thon rouge de sud (Canada, France), minamimaguro (Japan).

Ranking: E (Red - Worst Choice)

Best Fish Guide: Pacific Bluefin Tuna

 Ranking: E (Red - Worst Choice)

What's this? 

Alternative Choice: Albacore or Skipjack tuna

Description: Pacific bluefin tuna is a very large, highly migratory species that can move thousands of kilometres in a year.  It was previously known as Northern bluefin tuna in the Pacific, but the northern bluefin is actually a different species (T. thynnus) that grows much bigger and is a rare visitor to New Zealand. Pacific bluefin tuna are occasionally caught in New Zealand, in association with southern bluefin tuna (T. maccoyii), in longline fisheries off the West Coast of the South Island, around Northland and in the Bay of Plenty.

Ecological concerns: Limited research, uncertainty about stock assessments and the state of stocks (including the potential that they are overfished), unclear international management across different Pacific tuna management agreements and the lack of a management plan. The bycatch of seabirds, a range of shark species and NZ fur seals is also of concern, as is the removal of this important predatory species from oceanic food webs.

Economic value: Pacific bluefin tuna are sold in Japan, USA and Canada where it is highly prized for sashimi and sushi. Almost all large bluefins are shipped to Japan where they can fetch very high prices.  The export value of all tuna species combined was $38 million in 2010.  Pacific bljue fin quota was valued at $0.2m in 2009.



Biology and risk of overfishing (score D)
Status and sustainability of fish catches (score C)
Impact of fishing method and protected, threatened and endangered species captures (score D and E)
Management and management unit (score D and D)

For a full ecological assessment, click here