Endangered Species of the Week: Southern bluefin tuna
Species: Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii)
Status: Critically Endangered (CR)
Interesting fact: The southern bluefin tuna is one of the largest bony fish in the world, growing up to 4.3 metres long!
The southern bluefin tuna is an incredibly streamlined and powerful fish capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 km per hour through the water. Swimming together in shoals, the southern bluefin tuna migrates vast distances from the spawning grounds in the Indian Ocean to the feeding grounds in colder, southern waters. During the spawning period, a mature female will produce several million eggs. Southern bluefin tuna are opportunistic predators, feeding on a wide variety of other fish as well as crustaceans, cephalopods and other marine animals.
The southern bluefin tuna has been fished to the brink of extinction. Its flesh is highly prized in Japan, where an individual fish can fetch as much as 10,000 US dollars. The Commission for the Conservation of the Southern Bluefin Tuna was set up in 1994 to control the overfishing of this species; but some scientists believe more drastic measures need to be taken to save this species from extinction.
Find out more about this species on the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) website.
See this species on Google Earth.
See images and videos of the southern bluefin tuna on ARKive.