Yellowfin TunaYellowfin Tuna photo

Thunnus albacares


Other names: A'ahi, Ahi (Hawaiian), Allison Tuna, Asiasi, Badla-an, Jaydher, Kababa, Kihada, Maha'o, Otara, Palaha, Rabil, Te baibo, Thon Jaune, Thunfisch, Tonno Albacora, Tonnos Macropteros, To'ou, Toghu, Toghu hangar.


Lifecyle:

Yellowfin tuna females spawn a million eggs a year. The hatchlings feed on plankton and then small fish, krill, squid and crustaceans. Yellowfin tuna grow to about 60 cm in one year and can become as long as 200 cm and weigh up to 150 kilos. Most yellowfin tuna reach maturity at about 2 years of age and a size of 100 cm. But the lives of yellowfin tuna are short - with the average age being recorded as just 5-6 years old.


Habitat:

Yellowfin tuna prefer waters of 18ºC-31ºC (64.4ºF - 87.8ºF) and can generally be found in the top 100 metres of the ocean, sometimes gathering around drifting objects such as wood, patches of seagrass, boats, or dead marine mammals. Yellowfin tuna are found throughout the Pacific, from latitudes of approximately 40ºN to 40ºS. Yellowfin tuna are fast hunters which prey on a wide variety of fish including dolphinfish, pilchard, anchovy, flyingfish, mackerel, lancetfish, and other tuna such as the smaller skipjack, plus species such as cuttlefish, squid, octopus, shrimp,and larvae stages of lobster or crabs. Smaller yellowfin tuna may be eaten by larger tuna, seabirds, wahoo, sharks and billfish but the larger tuna are only hunted by the great hunters such as the mako shark or toothed whales such as the false killer whale.


Fishing:

Yellowfin tuna are caught by a variety of methods, from small-scale artisanal fisheries in Pacific Island waters and Southeast Asia to large foreign fishing longline vessels (that take mostly adult yellowfin tuna) and foreign purse seine vessels that can often capture younger tuna. Most yellowfin tuna (about 50% of those caught) are taken by purse seine fishing vessels. The Western and Central Pacific Ocean catch was around 430,000 tonnes in 2006 with around one quarter of this catch taken by Indonesia and Philippines. Yellowfin tuna are considered subject to overfishing.


Markets:

Yellowfin tuna has a pink to deep red coloured flesh that becomes lighter when cooked but can go brown in a few days. This necessitates that it be loined or filleted shortly before use. Yellowfin is a popular sushi fish, firm and mild in flavour, but unlike the ultimate sushi tuna bigeye and bluefin tuna, it quickly loses its colour. Most yellowfin tuna is canned, fresh and frozen and it is also sometimes smoked. Major canneries using yellowfin tuna are in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain and Italy. US, Japan and Europe are the major markets for -yellowfin tuna.