10 Incredible Tuna Facts

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: August 26, 2023
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Warm-water fish called tuna are frequently caught for sustenance in commercial fishing fleets and are also popular as game fish. Due to overfishing, several tuna species are in danger of going extinct. T One of the pelagic fish with the quickest swimming speed is the tuna has a streamlined body that makes it a quick and nimble predator. For instance, yellowfin tuna can swim as fast as 47 mph.

There are lots of great facts about tuna!

Let’s look at 10 incredible tuna facts in this article!

1. There Are 15 Types of Tuna

The most popular species for recreational and commercial tuna fisheries are albacore, bigeye, bluefin, skipjack, and yellowfin.


A tuna is a saltwater fish belonging to the Scombridae family (mackerel family). Two groups—sometimes referred to as “tribes”—dominate the tuna species. The first one is the Thunnini genus, which is distinguished by its two unique dorsal fins and extremely thick body. They are referred to as “genuine tunas.” There are 15 different species of Thunnini, the most popular species for recreational and commercial tuna fisheries are albacore, bigeye, bluefin, skipjack, and yellowfin. The other group is from Sardini, where the smaller true bonito species, such as the dogtooth tuna, more closely resemble mackerel than some other tuna species.

2. Fishing for Tuna Has Been Documented For Thousands of Years

Deep Sea Fishing Reel on a boat during sunrise

Fishing for tuna goes way back in time.

©MPH Photos/Shutterstock.com

Ancient civilizations engaged in tuna fishing, which the Arabs brought to the Mediterranean Sea and Europe around the year 1000. History experts believe that tuna fishing dates back at least 2,000 years. Since the 18th and 19th centuries, the Pacific Islands and Japan have depended significantly on tuna. According to historians, the Greek philosopher Aristotle provided a brief description of bluefin tuna in his book “History of Animals” from 350 BC.

3. They Prey on a Variety of Other Fish

The powerful jaws and teeth of tuna allow them to effortlessly shred apart their prey.


Tuna live in every ocean in the world, and they consume a diverse diet to match. In the open ocean, tuna typically eat migratory fish and squid. Small tuna species frequently consume smaller fish, crustaceans, and squid. Other marine mammals, octopus, squid, and bigger fish are all consumed by giant tunas. The powerful jaws and teeth of tuna allow them to effortlessly shred apart their prey. Additionally, they have a keen sense of smell, which aids them in locating prey in the water.

4. They Eat a Tremendous Amount of Food

Blackfin tuna on the background of large waves

Tuna need to eat a lot of fish to stay strong.

©Konstantin G/Shutterstock.com

A typical tuna consumes fish and crustaceans equal to about 10% of their body weight every day. Bigger tuna, such as the bluefin, can grow up to 12 feet long and weigh a record-breaking 1500 pounds! This tuna must eat up to 25% of its body weight every day to maintain its muscle strength since they spend a lot of time swimming through waterways.

5. Tuna Are Incredible Predators

Fastest Sea Animal: Yellowfin Tuna


yellowfin tuna

is one of the open ocean’s fastest, strongest predators and an important fishery species everywhere that it lives.

©Al McGlashan/Shutterstock.com

Sharks might be the first creature that springs to mind when talking about ocean predators, but bluefin tuna should also be highlighted. One of the most numerous fish in the water, the bluefin tuna, may quickly outgrow a shark. They are considered prominent ocean predators because they enjoy pursuing a variety of fish species. Tuna contributes to the stability of the ocean ecosystem as a top predator in the aquatic food chain.

6. Their Size Varies Greatly

southern bluefin tuna swimming with the fishes

The weight of different types of tuna can vary greatly.

©Shaun Robinson/Shutterstock.com

Depending on the species, tuna can range substantially in weight. They might weigh as little as 3 pounds or as much as 1000 pounds. For instance, an albacore tuna typically measures 15 to 40 inches long and weighs 10 to 25 pounds. The bluefin tuna is the biggest member of the tuna family. Although there have been instances of these tuna exceeding 1,500 pounds in weight, the typical adult Bluefin tuna weighs 500 pounds and can reach a length of seven feet!

7. Tuna Are Amazingly Fast Swimmers

Fastest Water Animals

Their specialized body shape, fins, and scales enable some species of tuna to swim very fast.


Tuna use swimming to cover large distances. The tuna’s robust fins and oval bodies allow them to swim at amazing speeds. Due to their distinct body composition, fins, and scales, some tuna species can swim up to 43 miles per hour.

8. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Are Considered a Delicacy in Some Countries

Fastest Sea Animal: Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is one of the


, fastest, and most gorgeously colored of all the world’s fishes


Some people rely on tuna as a sustenance and a source of money. In fact, to many, they are a delicacy! Asia, where it is a highly sought-after specialty for sushi and sashimi, has seen the sale of a single Atlantic bluefin fish go for approximately $1.75 million. Because it is so expensive, fishermen utilize ever-more-advanced techniques to catch tuna. Tuna fish are vanishing as a result.

9. They Are Being Over Fished Due To Illegal Fishing

Large deep sea fishing boat scene from the bridge of the boat large wave hitting the bow of the boat

Efforts are being made to protect tuna.

©Elmer Laahne PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock.com

Lack of management and oversight of the Atlantic bluefin fisheries has been a serious issue considering the prevalence of illicit fishing. Bluefin tuna have deteriorated sharply over the past few decades due to overfishing and illicit fishing.

10. Tuna Are Tagged for Data

Tuna jumping out of the water

Some tuna species might weigh as little as 3 pounds or as much as 1000 pounds.


Thanks to substantial research and data collected, we have a deeper understanding of the migratory habits of bluefin tuna and are able to advise fisheries managers on the best strategies to protect the species. More field tagging work will help fill in gaps in knowledge about the bluefin tuna’s biology and contribute to the fish’s long-term survival.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rich Carey/Shutterstock.com


  1. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuna
  2. Biology Dictionary, Available here: https://biologydictionary.net/bluefin-tuna/
  3. World Wildlife Fund, Available here: https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/tuna
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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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