6 Different Types of Tuna

What Is the Speed of a Knot?

Just as there are different types of sharks, whales, and dolphins, there are also different types of tuna that exist in the oceans throughout the world. Various tuna species range in size from approximately 1 foot to 15 feet long, and some of these pelagic fish weigh more than 1,000 pounds! 

In this blog post, your friends here at Harbor Breeze Cruises will introduce you to 6 different types of tuna, and we’ll specifically focus on the ones swimming underneath our catamarans that we take out on the Pacific Ocean as part of our daily whale-watching cruises!

Six Different Types of Tuna

  1. Albacore: If you like to eat tuna, chances are you’ve most likely consumed albacore. When tuna fishermen began catching and canning this type of tuna, its white flesh reminded them of chicken, and to this day it remains a popular ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and casseroles. We know humans like to eat albacore tuna, but what does this tuna species like to eat? Well, their diet includes smaller fish, squid, and crustaceans. Here’s another fun fact about albacore tuna: they have the longest pectoral fins of any tuna species! 
  2. Bigeye: The Bigeye tuna has distinctively large eyes, hence their name. Nicknamed the “cow of the sea,” it’s one of the largest tuna species on the planet, and its eyes allow them to excel at nocturnal hunting. This type of tuna resides in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, where it spends its time navigating through the deep, dark depths of the ocean. 
  3. Pacific Skipjack: This tuna species can be found in waters off California the whole way to Peru. You can easily identify this tuna species by taking a close look at its pattern, which features four to six dark bands that run from head to tail. Compared to other temperate tunas, they have a relatively short lifespan (around 8 to 12 years, according to NOAA Fisheries).  
  4. Bullet Tuna: Here is another type of tuna that gets its name based on one of its most defining characteristics! In the case of the bullet tuna, its name gives a well-deserved nod to its impressive speed, as the bullet tuna species can reach up to 45 miles per hour! This type of tuna spends its days diving deep into the ocean and, at nighttime, it prefers to swim near the surface.
  5. Pacific Bluefin: One of the most prized types of tuna is bluefin. Regarded as “the king of tuna,” this tuna species can grow to be quite massive—up to 1,000 pounds! Pacific bluefin tuna migrate long distances, spending part of their life off the coast of California, where it feeds and grows before it’s time to return to the western Pacific Ocean to spawn. We also want to mention that there are two other types of bluefin tuna: Atlantic and southern. Monterey Bay Aquarium notes that this type of tuna is a formidable predator and an exceptional swimmer. 
  6. Mackerel Tuna: Also known as Kawakawa, Eastern Little Tuna, and Thazard Oriental, this type of tuna species resides in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. You can identify it by looking closely at its coloring, which is a metallic blue-silver. Mackerel tuna are social creatures known to form large schools while hunting for food. In fact, a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University determined that swimming in such large schools seems to protect these types of fish against predators by reducing the noise they make underwater. 

Other types of tuna include longtail, little tunny, frigate, slender, and yellowfin. World 

Wildlife Fund notes that all different types of tuna species—including the six we’ve highlighted in this blog—are ecologically and economically significant. As apex predators, they help regulate populations of prey species and, in turn, maintain healthy marine ecosystems. Plus, as a consistently in-demand commercial fish, tuna is canned and sold fresh, making it a global commodity. 

Purchase Your Tickets for an Upcoming Harbor Breeze Cruise 

Eager to learn more about fish and other marine creatures? If so, we hope you’ll join us for a cruise sometime this summer! Our Aquarium of the Pacific educators are passionate about sharing their knowledge, so feel free to inquire about different types of tuna, migration patterns of whales, or how you can do your part to protect sea otters. Our cruises are educational, affordable, and unforgettable! 

For tickets, call us at 562-983-6880 or make your reservation online. Don’t forget to bring your camera so you can capture some of the great memories you’re bound to make once you board our custom-built, double-deck luxury whale-watching vessels, which come equipped with comfortable seating, lavatories, and a snack bar.


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