The southern bluefin tuna is one of the most valuable fish on earth. The bluefin is famous for its high-fat content, which makes for sensational sashimi, and every year the first bluefin of the season can earn millions in the Japanese fish markets.
There are three species of bluefin tuna:
- The Atlantic, which is the largest
- The Pacific, and
- The southern bluefin tuna.
Southern Bluefin Tuna
The southern bluefin tuna is the most widely distributed across the Indian and Pacific oceans. They’re even showing up in the Atlantic of south Africa. They undertake one of the greatest migrations on earth, traveling from their only known spawning grounds in the Indian ocean of northwestern Australia, traveling down Australia’s west coast.
They branch out some risking it and swimming out into the Indian ocean, where They travel to South Africa, but sadly many fall victim to illegal fishing on that journey. The rest turn east, The immature fish move into the great Australian bite, while the bigger fish move to victorian Tasmania to feed up after spawning.
They don’t stop there and continue their migration into the pacific up Australia’s east coast, as well as across to new Zealand And then turn around and do it all again along with the species.
The southern bluefin tuna can reach 40 years of age and grow more than 220 kilos. They don’t reach maturity until at least 8 to 10 years of age.
This is incredibly slow growing for a pelagic fish compared to other tumors, like yellowfin, which can reach full maturity in a couple of years and live for around seven years max, but still get 100 kilos.
Like all tuna bluefin, are endothermic, which means they can regulate their body temperature, a couple of degrees warmer than the surrounding water.
Southern Bluefin Tuna Predators
In contrast, bluefin was grown to apex predators; they still suffer heavy predation by sharks like mako sharks, as well as whales, particularly pilot Whales mizuna tuna. However often team up with dolphin sharks and Even whales, creating feeding frenzies located under the diving sea birds.
Commercial fishing started targeting bluefin way back in the 1950s.
Initially, they were chased by the Japanese fleets, but the Aussie crews soon started polling them for the canned tuna industry as well. Before. Moving on to pursue signing global catches increased dramatically to 77 000 tons in 1961. Still, by the 70s, there were apparent cracks In the fishery, and the Japanese industry introduced a voluntary closure on the sporting grounds.
Scientists warned of entire exploitation species as the fishery continued to decline. In 1991 tuna farming started in port lincoln. With minor signs of improvement, the commission for conservation of SBT was formed in 1994. In 1998, the WCU listed the SBT as critically Endangered.
It wasn’t until 2006 when japan was caught out for over fishing. Did we see dramatic and instant improvements in bluefin stocks? Stocks were as low as 5 in 2010, but 2017 had improved to 13, and it is continuing to improve, thanks to robust research, gene tagging. Bluefin was unknown for Recreational anglers throughout the 80s and 90s due to commercial over fishing.
It wasn’t until 2006 that they started fishing them, which coincided precisely with the Japanese being called out for over fishing, and instantly, bluefin fishing exploded in Australia. Since then, the stocks have continued to grow. It has created a cult following amongst anglers.
Fish caught range in size from just a few kilos to more than 150 kilos. The southern bluefin tuna is so prolific these days, and it’s possible to see a hundred kilos of fish off victoria’s Shipwreck coast. Under the cliffs of Tasmania’s, eagle, hawk neck and out wide in the eastern Australian current of new south wales, which highlights just how well The species is recovering. Today, the SPT is one of the most tagged fish for the new south wales game fish tagging program, feeders bluefin can be caught by techniques, but trolling is by far the most commonly Employed and effective.
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A mix of skirted lures and deep dive in your rigid bodies. Like how to code laser pros work, an absolute treat on this surface, feeding fish today, commercial fishing is highly regulated with specific quotas, and every fish is counted to ensure it stays sustainable. In fact, on longline vessels and Australian waters, they are rigged with Cameras to ensure strict compliance.
As a result, it has created a fishery that focuses on quality, not quantity, and every fish is processed and chilled within minutes of being landed. The story of the southern bluefin tuna is truly a remarkable one, and a rare good news story for our oceans fished almost to commercial extinction. The species has begun to rebound and is continuing to show you signs of improvement.
This is much in thanks to teamwork. Between nations that have played a vital role in the success of the species recovery, and while it’s far from perfect, there is no denying this success so far. Sport anglers have also played an essential role in establishing the tuna champions program, promoting good fishing practice.