Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found in oceanic waters, sometimes not far from the coast (Ref. 13628). Forms large mixed schools with the skipjack tuna. Its spawning grounds are located well offshore. Preys on surface and deep-sea fishes, squids, amphipods, shrimps, crabs and stomatopods and decapod larvae. The largest fishery for blackfin tuna operates off the southeastern coast of Cuba and uses live-bait and pole. Utilized fresh, dried or salted, canned and frozen (Ref. 9987).
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Distribution

Range Description

Thunnus atlanticus is distributed from Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, south to 26°S in Brazil and the island of Trindade off Brazil (Collette and Nauen 1983), including the wider Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. There is a recent record (2008) from Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago (Travassos, unpublished data).
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Western Atlantic: off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts south to Trinidad Island and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Ref. 168); including south of Brazil (Ref. 36453). Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).
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Western Atlantic.
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Western Atlantic: off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts south to Trinidad Island and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 13; Dorsal soft rays (total): 14 - 15; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 13 - 14; Vertebrae: 39
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Size

Maximum size: 1000 mm FL
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Max. size

108 cm FL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637)); max. published weight: 20.6 kg (Ref. 40637)
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Thunnus atlanticus is found in coastal waters with a temperature above 20°C. It is an epipelagic species, often found over reefs, bays and offshore. It sometimes occurs in large schools, often with Skipjack Tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). It feeds on fishes, squids and crustaceans. The IGFA all-tackle gamefish record for this species was caught off the coast of Florida and weighed 22.4 kg. Maximum recorded length is 110 cm fork length (FL) (Collette 2010).

Around Florida, spawning season extends from April to November, with a peak in May, while in the Gulf of Mexico spawning apparently occurs between June to September (Collette 2010). In Brazil, spawning peaks in November and December. The species migrates to Formosa Bay to spawn from October to January (Freire 2009). During the spawning season, there is an annual concentration of T. atlanticus along the southern coast of Rio Grande do Norte during the second half of the year (Vieira et al. 2005a).

Vieira et al. (2005b) found an average length of 61.1 cm for females and 64 cm for males. The total weight ranged from 1,000 to 5,000 g (females) and 1,456 to 8,400 g (males) for individuals caught in Rio Grande do Norte from September 1999 to January 2001, within a depth range of 20–60 m. The same authors report a sex ratio of 2.1:0.5, with a larger abundance of males. Freire (2009) reports captures of T. atlanticus from 36–89 cm FL along the northeastern Brazilian coast between 1998 and 2000.

According to Vieira et al. (2005b), the estimated average length for gonadal maturation is 51 cm total length (TL) for females and the absolute fecundity shows a mean of 1,541,841 oocytes for specimens caught in Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil. Freire (2009) report size at first maturity at 49.2 cm (TL) for females and 51.3 cm (TL) for males.

Tagging data exists from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) for this species (787 individuals). This data does not indicate migratory behavior (Singh-Renton and Renton 2007). There is evidence of genetic differentiation between the Gulf of Mexico and Northwest Atlantic stocks (Saxton 2009).

Maximum size is 100 cm FL. The all-tackle game fish record is of a 22.39 kg fish caught off Marathon, Florida in 2006 (IGFA 2011).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 50 - ? m
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Depth range based on 7925 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 7560 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 2650
  Temperature range (°C): 3.126 - 27.910
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.068 - 32.106
  Salinity (PPS): 32.493 - 37.047
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.567 - 6.570
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.027 - 2.016
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.535 - 29.441

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 2650

Temperature range (°C): 3.126 - 27.910

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.068 - 32.106

Salinity (PPS): 32.493 - 37.047

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.567 - 6.570

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.027 - 2.016

Silicate (umol/l): 0.535 - 29.441
 
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nektonic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Migration

Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Diseases and Parasites

Tentacularia Disease of Coryphaena. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Pseudocycnus Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Nasicola Infestation 2. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Hirudinella Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Euryphorous Infestation 1. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Caligus Infestation 7. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Caligus Infestation 18. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Thunnus atlanticus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 28
Specimens with Barcodes: 60
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Thunnus atlanticus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 23 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

TTG---------------------------------------------------TTTATAGTAATACCAATTATGATTGGAGGATTTGGAAACTGACTTATTCCTCTAATG---ATCGGAGCCCCCGACATGGCATTCCCACGAATGAACAACATGAGCTTCTGACTCCTTCCTCCCTCTTTCCTTCTGCTCCTAGCTTCTTCAGGAGTTGAGGCTGGAGCCGGAACCGGTTGAACAGTCTACCCTCCCCTTGCCGGCAACCTGGCCCACGCAGGGGCATCAGTTGACCTA---ACTATTTGCTCACTTCACTTAGCAGGGGTTTCCTCAATTCTTGGGGCAATTAACTTCATCACAACAATTATCAATATGAAACCTGCAGCTATTTCTCAGTATCAAACACCACTGTTTGTATGAGCTGTACTAATTACAGCTGTTCTTCTCCTACTTTCCCTTCCAGTCCTTGCCGCT---GGTATTACGATGCTCCTTACAGACCGAAACCTAAATACAACCTTCTTCGACCCTGCAGGAGGGGGAGACCCAATCCTTTACCAACACCTATTCTGATTCTTTGGACATCCAGAAGTCTACATTCTTATTCTTCCCGGATTCGGAATGATCTCCCACATTGTTGCCTACTACTCAGGTAAAAAA---GAACCTTTCGGCTACATGGGTATGGTATGAGCCATGATGGCTATCGGCCTACTAGGGTTCATCGTATGAGCCCACCACATGTTCACGGTAGGAATGGACGTAGACACACGGGCATACTTTACATCCGCAACTATGATTATCGCAATTCCAACTGGTGTAAAAGTATTTAGCTGACTT---GCAACCCTTCACGGAGGA---GCTGTTAAGTGAGAAACCCCTCTGCTATGAGCCATTGGCTTTATTTTCCTCTTTACAGTTGGAGGGCTAACAGGTATTGTCCTAGCCAATTCATCCCTAGACATCGTTCTACACGACACCTACTACGTAGTAGCCCACTTCCACTACGTA---CTATCTATGGGAGCTGTATTCGCCATTGTTGCC---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------GCC
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
Collette, B., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., Dooley, J., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Fritzsche, R., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, J., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E.

Reviewer/s
Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Cherney, A., Ram, M., Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.

Contributor/s
De Silva, R., Milligan, HT, Lutz, M.L., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.

Justification
This is a widespread, coastal species in the western Atlantic. Landings data show fluctuations without evidence of consistent decline, although some of the major fishing nations for this species have ceased reporting landings. Those countries that are reporting landings do not show evidence of decline. Therefore, this species is listed as Least Concern. It is recommended that this species should be closely monitored.

History
  • 2010
    Least Concern
    (IUCN 2010.4)
  • 2010
    Least Concern
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Population

Population
Thunnus atlanticus is one of the most common tuna species in the western central Atlantic.

FAO landings (2008) indicate that it is harvested by a wide range of countries with catches fluctuating over the last 20 years between 2,400–5,200 mt from 1986–2006. These landings probably do not include the recreational catch which likely comprises a large portion of the fishery (B. Collette pers. comm. 2009). There is some doubt as to whether this includes all catches throughout its range. Large fluctuations reflect discontinued reporting from a number of areas.

T. atlanticus was the species with the highest abundance in the pelagic longline fishery in northeast Brazil, with an average catch per unit effort (CPUE) of 0.32 ind/100 hooks, representing 56.2% of all caught tunas (Hazin et al. 2001 in MMA 2006).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is fished by trolling or drifting longline with live bait. Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are used to increase the capture of this species (Taquet et al. 2000). Males are caught more often than females; in one report males constituted 80% of the catch (Taquet et al. 2000). The largest fishery for this species is off the southeastern shore of Cuba (Collette 2002). It is the target of hand and line artisanal fisheries in the northeast of Brazil (Freire 2009). This species may also be taken as bycatch in the Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) fisheries (González-Ania et al. 2001). There is also an important sport fishery in Florida and the Bahamas (Collette 2002).

Three of the major fisheries (Cuba, Dominican Republic and Martinique) have ceased reporting landings data for this species (ICCAT SCRS 2009).

Nóbrega et al. (2009) report T. atlanticus captures all along the northeastern Brazilian coast by hand-line artisanal fishery, with catches by state as follows: Bahia (57.6%), Rio Grande do Norte (23.7%), Alagoas and Pernambuco (17.7%), Ceará (0.8%) and Piauí (0.1%). There is an annual concentration of this species along the southern coast of Rio Grande do Norte State during the second half of the year which increases its capture by the artisanal fleet (Vieira et al. 2005b). It is fished all over the Brazilian central coast (from southern Bahia to northern Rio de Janeiro State) by trolling and hand-line fisheries (MMA 2006). It is also caught by game fisheries off the coast of São Paulo State (Amorim and Silva 2005).
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for Thunnus atlanticus.

Freire (2009) suggest a capture-release study, involving Caribbean and Brazilian northeastern and southeastern researches to better establish fishing mortality rates and understand migratory patterns.

Better data is needed from fisheries landings to specifically identify and record this species.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
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Wikipedia

Blackfin tuna

Blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) is the smallest tuna species in the Thunnus genus, generally growing to a maximum of 100 centimetres (39 in) in length and weighing 21 kg (46 lbs). Blackfin have oval shaped bodies, black backs with a slight yellow on the finlets, and have yellow on the sides of their body. Blackfin are only found in the western Atlantic from Cape Cod to Brazil.

Blackfin hunt both epipelagic (surface) and mesopelagic (deeper water) fish and squid. They also eat crustaceans such as shrimps, crabs, amphipods, stomatopods and the larva of decapods.[2] They are a short-lived, fast-growing species; a 5 year old fish would be considered old. They reach sexual maturity at two years old, and spawn in the open sea during the summer. Blackfin tuna are a warmer-water fish, preferring water temperatures over 68°F (20°C). What they lack in size, they make up for in numbers and willingness to bite.

Sustainable consumption

In 2010, unlike other tuna species, Greenpeace International did not add the blackfin tuna to its seafood red list. "The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."[3]

References

  1. ^ Collette, B., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., Dooley, J., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Fritzsche, R., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, J., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E. (2011). "Thunnus atlanticus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/155276. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). "Thunnus atlanticus" in FishBase. November 2012 version.
  3. ^ Greenpeace International Seafood Red list
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