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Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus)

  bluefin tuna
Bluefin Tuna
(Thunnus thynnus)
Photo: NOAA



ESA Species of Concern - Western Atlantic, Eastern Atlantic, and Mediterranean stocks

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Scombridae
Genus: Thunnus
Species: thynnus

Species Description
Weight: average 550 pounds (250 kg); can reach up to 2,000 pounds (900 kg)
Length:   average 6.5 feet (2 m); can reach up to 13 feet (4 m)
Diet: Fish, such as herring, anchovy, sand lance, sardine, sprat, bluefish, and mackerel; juveniles also eat crustaceans and cephalopods

Atlantic bluefin tuna are found throughout the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas, including the Mediterranean Sea.

They are "pelagic", highly migratory species occupying coastal and open ocean areas up to depths of 650 feet (200 m).

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest of the tuna species.

As large predators, bluefin tuna play an important role in pelagic ecosystems.

Regulatory Overview
In May 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) submitted a petition [pdf] to list Atlantic bluefin tuna under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The 90-day finding states that the petition contains "substantial information" that the petitioned action may be warranted; it is not a listing for Atlantic bluefin tuna.

On May 27, 2011, after an extensive scientific review, NOAA announced that Atlantic bluefin tuna currently do not warrant species protection under the Endangered Species Act.

NOAA has committed to revisit this decision by early 2013, when more information will be available about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, as well as a new stock assessment from the scientific arm of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the international body charged with the fish's management and conservation.

NOAA formally designated both the western Atlantic and eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks of bluefin tuna as species of concern. This places the species on a watchlist for concerns about its status and threats to the species under the Endangered Species Act.

Key Documents
(All documents are in PDF format.)

Title Federal Register Date
Species of Concern Fact Sheet: Detailed n/a 11/16/2011
n/a 11/16/2011
NOAA Finds Endangered Species Listing for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Not Warranted 76 FR 31556 06/01/2011
Status Review report   05/2011
90-day finding on petition that listing under the ESA may be warranted 75 FR 57431 09/21/2010
Petition from Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to list under ESA   05/24/2010

More Information

Updated: February 27, 2013

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