American Oceans

The Largest Tuna Ever Recorded

Atlantic bluefin tuna are known to be one of the largest fish species in our oceans.

You may be surprised by just how big these creatures can get. So, what’s the biggest Atlantic bluefin tuna ever recorded?

largest tuna ever caught

How Big Can Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Get?

To put it in one word: huge. And that word might even be an understatement in this context.

Atlantic bluefin tuna are some of the largest fish species in the world, reaching an average length of 6.5 feet and an average weight of 550 pounds.

And those are just average figures! Generally speaking, the Atlantic bluefin tuna is accepted as the largest tuna species in the world.

8 feet big bluefin tuna caught by fisheries

To illustrate just how large bluefin tuna can be, some have clocked in at 1500 pounds and at lengths of close to 8 feet, making it easy to see why this massive fish is highly coveted by fisheries and used to feed whole populaces in cuisines all over the world.

However, this desire for bluefin tuna meat has led to overfishing in many cases, which has put the species at some risk in terms of long-term survival.

Why are Bluefin Tuna so Big?

Bluefin tuna have insatiable appetites and a wide-ranging diet, meaning they consume nearly everything they come into contact with.

A bluefin’s habitat is the ocean, so naturally, they feed on smaller fish, crustaceans, squids, eels and a multitude of other sea creatures. 

So varied is a bluefin tuna’s food palate, in fact, that it is even considered to be an apex, or alpha predator. In other words, they have no one above them on the food chain.

Considering what they eat and how much, it’s not surprising that bluefin tuna are as colossal as they can be in many instances.

World Record Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Catches

There have been some enormous Atlantic bluefin tuna catches in recent history. The largest one currently on record belongs to fisherman Ken Fraser, who caught a bluefin tuna off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada in 1979.

ken fraser catches atlantic bluefin tuna world record
Credit: IGFA/ifga.org

That fish weighed in at an astounding 1,496 pounds! To this day, no fisherman has ever come close to matching this world record bluefin tuna catch.

It reportedly took Fraser 45 minutes just to reel it in and another 10 hours to dehydrate the fish due to all the seawater it consumes. What a story!

Most of the largest Atlantic bluefin tunas have been caught, not shockingly, off the eastern seaboard of Canada.

Another big one was caught off the coast of Prince Edward Island, nearby Nova Scotia, just a year before the 1979 record catch. That bluefin weighed a whopping 1,178 pounds!

In 1985, a 1,116 pound bluefin tuna was reeled in by fishermen, also off Prince Edward Island.

So chances are, if you’re looking to catch an Atlantic bluefin tuna, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia appear to be prime destinations.

Final Thoughts

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is a massive fish species, the largest of the tuna and one of the largest among all fish types in the world.

big and huge atlantic bluefin tuna underwater

Their gigantic size and speed can make them hard to capture, but when accomplished, they can turn into an instant fortune for fisheries.

With some of the record catches measuring in at over 10 feet each, the Atlantic bluefin tuna is truly one of the kings of the marine ecosystem.

15 comments

  • Awesome catches. People don’t realize that once they get to these sizes they’re not long for this earth. They eat massive amounts of other sea life and they’re close to being ready to be nothing more than rotted bottom feeder chum. It’s time to harvest them… For all the people who whine about these magnificent creatures “being taken and consumed” they generate millions of dollars per fish in economies that desperately need them and their protein they provide. These wild caught fish aren’t just consumed by a few people but literally thousands get to enjoy each one. So if you’re the kind of person that does be grateful you live in the age that still can and who do in a sustainable manner. All fishing should be done so and it isn’t. The best things humans can do is learn to argue for sustainable regulations/laws everywhere and encourage sustainable methods in their communities.

  • I know or another very large tuna that had been caught back in 1979 in the Bahamas. It weighs in at 941 1/2 pounds but it’s never mentioned. Why

  • Absolutely disgusting that these creatures are fished from our ocean. Leave them alone. Human beings do not need to murder these beautiful beings in order to live. Fishing and hunting are disgusting and unnecessary. Every single one of them should be ashamed of themselves. Only cowards kill animals.

    • youre an idiot if thats what you truely believe. we as humans were never meant to be omnivors.get real, fishing , hunting, gathering is what humans have done since the beginning.

    • Listen animals eat animals to live and survival where no different and cause a fish am a coward get a grip a pay to fish not to sell but feed my family so a will stay a coward

    • It certainly wouldn’t hurt to put a temporary hold on fishing od Big Bluefin Tuna for a few seasons
      These aren’t Tuna going into cans. These are gourmet Tuna. Seriously. Give them a rest. Most of these big are purchased by the Asians for high sums of money to feed their insatiable appetites .

    • Your sister vegetarian I’ll meet has put on this Earth for men to consume and enjoy does not mean that we have to kill them needlessly no but if you kill something you should eat it and consume it that is what we’re here for if we didn’t keep the populations down they would overpopulate themselves and then there would be more problems you people just don’t understand these things God put these animals on this earth for us. Even Jesus fed the multitudes with fish. Get off your high horse I hate to tell you this but even the food that you buy in the supermarket has been killed by somebody not to mention if you’re eating plants you’re killing them too they’re living creatures too so get off your horse and learn to live

    • Wow!we should cage all of the animals for market and make them live in their own poo before we eat them!MAN IMAGINE IF WE BECAME OVERPOPULATED BY these monsters, JAWS AINT JACK!!
      seriously though you sound like a little kid!don’t abuse but use and reuse it forever,that’s what God,Jesus,joe Biden(lol probably not) everyone with a reasoning brain hell the earth itself would want.please level the fisherman alone and go save those damn turtles ? on the beach