Tuna

The fate of tuna species rests in our hands. Will we give tuna, one of the most beautiful and perfectly evolved marine fish, a chance to recover or will it be fished to extinction?

Key Facts

  • Common Name

    Tuna

  • Family / Genus

    Scombridae / Thunnus

  • Endangered?

    Some species are critically endangered

  • How many?

    There are 8 tuna species in the Thunnus genus

  • Geographic location

    Tuna species are found in all temperate and tropical waters

Tuna is the dominant predator in temperate and tropical ocean ecosytems around the world.
It is one of the most commercially valuable fish on Earth, with the major markets focusing on albacore, bigeye, yellowfin and the 3 bluefin species. Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) is also an important component of the tuna market. The other 2 members of the Thunnis family are Blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) and Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol).

What are the threats to tuna?

Rampant overfishing of tuna, in particular bluefin tuna has led to a specatcular collapse of the species.

Despite increased awareness of the plight of bluefin tuna, there is as yet no sign of a permanent recovery of this species and there are also concerns that yellowfin and bigeye tuna will suffer a similar fate.

Food web

Tuna eat:
  • Smaller schooling fish such as herring, mackerel, flying fish and anchovies
  • Squid, eels and crustaceans
Tuna are eaten by:
  • Larger tuna species
  • Billfish
  • Sharks
  • Humans

How you can help

  • Don't buy tuna which is severely threatened by overfishing. Always check that it is sustainably sourced when purchasing and look for MSC certification. Check out WWF's sustainable seafood guide for further information.
     
  • Spread the word! Click on the button to share this information with others via email or your favourite social networking service.

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Did you know?

    • Some tuna species can raise their blood temperature above that of the water.
    • The largest Atlantic bluefin tuna weighed in at a whopping 679kg!
    • Bluefin tuna can reach speeds of 70-100 kph.
    • Bluefin is the largest species reaching around 4 metres.
  • Follow the journey of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea. / ©: WWF MEDPO

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