The Atlantic bluefin tuna, or Thunnus thynnus, is one of three main species of tuna. It can also be referred to as the northern bluefin tuna or the giant bluefin tuna. This species can be found across the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Equipped with teeth, speed and a constant need for nourishment, Atlantic bluefin tuna are constantly looking for food. One reason their appetites are so insatiable is their unusual circulatory system. Tuna, unlike other fish, are warm blooded. This means that they must continually move to maintain a body temperature higher than that of the water around them. If the temperatures of their body dip too low, vital organs begin to fail and the fish can die. To maintain their body heat therefore, tuna must always be moving – even in sleep!
Muscles along the sides of the tuna’s body propel the fish forward at speeds of 2-9 miles per hour when traveling normally and over 65 miles per hour when hunting. This constant movement pushes water through the fishes gills, transferring oxygen to the fish and powering its muscles and organs. Maintaining their body temperature allows tuna to live and travel through a wide range of water temperatures, from 3-30º celsius. However, these tuna tend to stay in more temperate waters.
Atlantic bluefin tuna are one of the oceans apex predators. These fish travel in large schools and eat large amounts of protein rich sea life including mackerel, squid, Atlantic menhaden (a type of sea herring) and crustaceans. Because these fish are on the move, Atlantic bluefin tuna tend to follow the schools. During different times of year, these bait fish travel to different waters. Each year however, tuna travel to the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea, both spawning grounds for the species, to reproduce. Spawning in the Gulf occurs mid-April through mid-June. During this time, the mature females release about 30 million eggs each. The same process happens in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Eastern Atlantic between June and August. All Atlantic Bluefin Tuna return to the waters they were born in to reproduce during these times so the waters are teeming with huge fish and their prey making for very exciting excursions for anglers in these waters.
Atlantic bluefin tuna have very few natural predators. Weighing in at over 1000 pounds in some cases, these fish face few natural threats. Orca whales and sharks are generally the largest predators the tuna must fear. As giant squid populations continue to grow, these may also play the part of a predator. The largest predator of the Atlantic bluefin tuna is man. Before the 1950’s, tunas, including bluefins, were considered a scrap fish and a nuisance. People who caught them would bury their bodies without harvesting the meat. In the 1950’s however, increased demand for the fish in both Asian and American markets pushed the commercial fishing of Atlantic bluefin tuna to the max. Today, bluefins are on the endangered list but their populations are making a recovery due to the efforts of conservation groups like Oceana and commercial quotas.
Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic bluefin tuna population was hit hard by overfishing. Quotas were put in place in an attempt to help the population rebound. Fortunately, these conservation attempts appear to be working and the population continues to grow. For charter tuna fishing operations, this can be both a challenge and a joy. There is great respect for the powerful tuna and catching one can be the moment of a lifetime. But, precautions are taken to ensure the least amount of damage possible is done to the fish. Afterall, in order for the sport to continue, these fish must live to reproduce again. At Scott Bruce Tuna Charters, we always use barb-less circle hooks to minimize any stress on the fish.
Are you looking for the adrenalin rush of a lifetime? Atlantic bluefin tuna charters offer fun, family friendly and rewarding experiences on the water. Fish with the best and reel in the biggest with Scott Bruce Tuna Charters. Learn more about our tuna fishing charters, here. Contact us about daily rates and reserving a day at firstname.lastname@example.org.