Bigeye Tuna

"Cornerstone of the Seas" by David Levy (digital)

Very often we only think of the usual endangered species walking our earth. Our planet is mostly covered by oceans, and we all come originally from them. There is a misconception that oceans are an endless trough of life and resources, but sadly this could not be further than the truth. The ocean is more akin to a desert, with very few spaces where life can develop. As a child, growing up and snorkeling in the Mediterranean Sea, I remember a very vibrant underwater life. Many years later, that same sea is desolate and polluted. One of the most damaging element in all seas is over-fishing, and the Big Eye Tuna living in Eastern and Western Pacific Oceans, is no stranger to it. Victim of human consumption without enough replenishment, bigger creatures who live on hunting them cannot feed and disappear. Tuna and other fish are not an infinite resource, and the species being industrially hunted and consumed on a daily basis are obviously the most vulnerable and will disappear.
— David Levy

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Bigeye are found in the subtropical and tropical areas of the Atlantic, with the exception of the Mediterranean, as well as in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Family life

Bigeye tuna are excellent swimmers. Unlike many other fish, they cannot pump water over their gills, but instead, swim with their mouths open, which forces water over their gills. While this is an efficient way of getting water over their gills, it also means that if they stop swimming, they will suffocate. Juvenile and small adult bigeye tuna school at the ocean’s surface, sometimes together with yellowfin or skipjack tuna. Mature bigeye tuna spawn at least twice a year, releasing between an incredible 2.9 million and 6.3 million eggs each time.


Big eye tuna can live as long as 10 to 12 years.

Hunting Habits/Diet

Their diet includes squid, crustaceans, mullet, sardines, small mackerel and some deep water species.


It is estimated that less than 20 percent of the population remains.

Fun Fact

Bigeye tuna can dive deeper than other tuna species and exhibit extensive vertical movements.

Why are They Endangered?

Bigeye tuna are prized in Asia for sashimi, as well as frozen and fresh in other markets. As bluefin tuna populations shrink around the world, pressure on bigeye fisheries increases.



School of jackfish