The latest fish for my new piece, “We All Swim Together,” is a Bigeye Tuna. It is a beautiful and very large fish. On my piece, it is about 21" long; in real life, it can be more than 8 feet long!
Latin Name: Thunnus obesus
Habitat: Found worldwide in open waters of temperate and tropical oceans.
Depth: usually above 1650 feet
98" and 400 pounds
Notes: The Bigeye can live up to 12 years; the average is 7-8 years. They are one of the species that is very threatened by overfishing, and are also susceptible to purse seine fishing by man-made fish aggregation devices such as open ocean buoys. About half of the Bigeye caught are captured in this way. Many juvenile fish are caught in these devices before they reach breeding age, adding to the problem. Greenpeace International added the Bigeye to its seafood red list in 2010. The U.S. and some island nations have had treaties regulating and setting fishing quotas on bigeye.
In Hawaii, the Bigeye is one of two species (the other is Yellowfin Tuna) known as ‘ahi. They are prized in Asia for sashimi.
Bigeye tuna sometimes have high levels of mercury, making them unsafe to eat. Pregnant women are warned not to consume too much tuna for this reason.