Northern Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus orientalis (Temminck & Schlegel 1844)


Other Names: Pacific Bluefin Tuna, Pacific Northern Bluefin Tuna

Northern Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus orientalis, 20 naut miles off Ensenada, Mexico. Source: Alfonso Medellin / iNaturalist. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

Summary:

Like their close relatives, the Southern Bluefin Tuna, Northern Bluefins are 'warm-blooded’ schooling predators. Their core body temperature may be up to 4 degrees warmer than the surrounding water temperature. This species is distinct from the Atlantic 'Northern Bluefin Tuna', Thunnus thynnus

Northern Bluefin Tuna are an extremely valuable commercial species. Over the past 22 years, populations of this species are estimated to have declined between 19–33% (Collette et al. 2014). As a result, Northern Bluefin Tuna are now classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

Northern Bluefin Tuna feeding on baitfish in the wild.


Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Schultz, S., Thunnus orientalis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Aug 2017, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2545

Northern Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus orientalis (Temminck & Schlegel 1844)

More Info


Distribution

Widespread in the Indo-Pacific - and most common in the northwestern Pacific as adults. In Australia, the species occurs in small numbers off southwestern Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland. Northern Bluefin Tuna are also found in New Zealand waters. The species usually inhabits water temperatures between 13.5 and 23 deg C.

Features

Dorsal fin XVII-XIX, 0, 0, 13-18; Anal fin 14-16; Pectoral fin 23-26; Gill rakers 8-13. 

Dorsal fins separated by a narrow space. Second dorsal and anal fins followed by eight and six finlets, respectively. Pectoral fins short. Body elongate and slightly compressed. Large, conical teeth forming a single series, 12-20 in upper jaw, 10-17 in lower jaw. Body with anterior corselet and covered in small scales, posterior to corselet. Lateral line curves gradually downwards from origin to caudal peduncle. Caudal peduncle with well-developed keel, flanked on each side by a smaller keel. Swim bladder absent.

Size

To at least 300 cm FL Fork length), and 450 kg in weight.

Colour

Dark blue to black dorsally, grey on sides, belly whitish. The dorsal stripes do not extend onto the belly.

Feeding

A voracious predator, feeding on a wide variety of schooling fishes and squid, and also on crustaceans such as crabs, and other benthic invertebrates.

Biology

Like other large tuna species, Northern Bluefin Tuna are slow to mature, not reproducing until they are 3-5 years old, or even later. They spawn off Japan in the East China Sea, the Sea of Japan and in the Pacific waters off Shikoku, and many young fish migrate across the Pacific to Baja California after their first or second year. After spending several years in the food-rich waters of the eastern Pacific, they return to the waters of their birth in the Western Pacific - and remain in the Western Pacific throughout their adult lives. 

Some Northern Bluefin Tuna then head to southern hemisphere waters off Australia and New Zealand.

Like other large tuna species, Northern Bluefins are ‘warm-blooded’, and have core body temperatures up to 4 degrees warmer than the surrounding water temperature.

Fisheries

A highly valued commercial species, although not common in Australian waters. Recreational fishers take this species while trolling using lures. 

In the Pacific Ocean, half of the stock is taken in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and the other half in the Western Pacific Ocean. The species is fished in the Northern Hemisphere with purse seines, set nets and by trolling. Collette et al. (2011) suggest that 

Remarks

Often schools with smaller species of the family Scombridae.

Etymology

The specific name orientalis is from Latin in reference to the "Oriental" distribution of this species.

Species Citation

Pelamys orientalis Temminck & Schlegel 1844, Fauna Japonica Parts 5-6: 94, Japan.

Author

Dianne J. Bray & Schultz, S.

Northern Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus orientalis (Temminck & Schlegel 1844)

References


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Boustany, A.M., Matteson, R., Castleton, M., Farwell, C. & Block, B. 2010. Movements of Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) in the Eastern North Pacific revealed with archival tags. Progress in Oceanography 86: 94-104.

Chen, K.-S., P. Crone & C.-C. Hsu. 2006. Reproductive biology of female Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis from southwestern North Pacific Ocean. Fish. Sci. 72: 985-994.

Collette, B.B. 1999. Mackerels, molecules, and morphology. pp. 149-164 in Séret, B. & Sire, J.-Y (eds). Proceedings of the 5th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference. Nouméa, 3-8 November 1997. Paris : Société Française d'Ichtyologie 888 pp.

Collette, B.B. 2001. Scombridae. pp. 3721-3756 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218. 

Collette, B.B. 2010. Reproduction and Development in Epipelagic Fishes. In: Cole, K.S. (ed.) Reproduction and sexuality in marine fishes: patterns and processes, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Collette, B.B., Carpenter, K.E., Polidoro, B.A., Juan-Jorda, M.J., Boustany, A., Die, D.J., Elfes, C., Fox, W., Graves, J., Harrison, L., McManus, R., Minte-Vera, C., Nelson, R., Restrepo, V., Schratwieser, J., Sun, C-L, Brick Peres, M., Canales, C., Cardenas, G., Chang, S.-K., Chiang, W-C, de Oliveira Leite, N., Harwell, H., Lessa, R., Fredou, F.L., Oxenford, H.A., Serra, R., Shao, K.-T., Sumalia, R., Wang, S-P, Watson, R. and Yanez, E. 2011. High value and long life: Double jeopardy for tunas and billfishes. Science 333: 291-292.

Collette, B., Fox, W., Juan Jorda, M., Nelson, R., Pollard, D., Suzuki, N. & Teo, S. 2014. Thunnus orientalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 05 December 2014.

Collette, B.B. & Nauen, C.E. 1983. FAO Species Catalogue. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 2. Rome : FAO. 137 pp. 81 figs

Collette, B.B., Reeb, C. & Block, B.A. 2001. Systematics of the tunas and mackerels (Scombridae). pp. 1-33 in Block, B.A & Stevens, E.D. (eds). Tuna: Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution. Fish Physiology. London : Academic Press Vol. 19 350 pp.

Gibbs, R.H. & Collette, B.B. 1967. Comparative anatomy and systematics of the tunas, genus ThunnusFishery Bulletin (U.S.) 66(1): 65-130 figs 1-32.

Griggs, L. & Chow, S. 2001. DNA identification of Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) in the New Zealand fishery. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 35: 843-850.

ISC. 2014. Report of the Pacific Bluefin Tuna Working Group workshop. International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean, La Jolla, California, USA.

Itoh T, Tsuji S, Nitta A (2003) Migration patterns of young Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) determined with archival tags. Fishery Bulletin 101: 514.

Kitagawa T, Kimura S, Nakata H, Yamada H, Nitta A, Sasai Y, Sasaki H. 2009. Immature Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, utilizes cold waters in the Subarctic Frontal Zone for trans-Pacific migration. Environ. Biol. Fish. 84: 193-196.

Majkowski, J. 2007. Global fishery resources of tuna and tuna-like species. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 483: 54.

Matsukawa Y. 2006. Carrying capacity and survival strategy for the Pacific Bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, in the western Pacific. Aquabiology 28(4): 432-441.

Maunder, M.N., Piner, K.R. & Aires-da-Silva, A. 2014. Stock Status of Pacific Bluefin Tuna and the Urgent Need for Management Action. Document SAC-05-10a from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Scientific Advisory Committee fifth meeting. La Jolla, California, USA.

Menashes, E.H. 2011. Fisheries of the Pacific region; western Pacific region. Federal Register 76(5): 28422.

Pepperell, J. 2010. Fishes of the Open Ocean a Natural History & Illustrated Guide. Sydney : University of New South Wales Press Ltd 266 pp.

Qiu, F. & Miyamoto, M.M. 2011. Use of nuclear DNA data to estimate genetic diversity and population size in Pacific bluefin and yellowfin tuna (Thunnus orientalis and T. albacares). Copeia 2011: 264-269.

Satoh, K. 2010. Horizontal and vertical distribution of larvae of Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis in patches entrained in mesoscale eddies. Marine Ecology Progress Series 404: 227-240.

Satoh, K., Tanaka, Y., Masujima, M. Okazaki, M., Kato, Y., Shono, H. & Suzuki, K. 2013. Relationship between the growth and survival of larval Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis. Marine Biology 160: 691-702.

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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37441026

Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable

Depth:0-550 m

Fishing:Commercial & game fish

Habitat:Epipelagic, oceanic

Max Size:300 cm FL; 450 kg

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map