Identifying Bluefin vs Yellowfin Tuna

Learn how to identify and distinguish the differences between bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna with these pointers.

How to tell the differences between a bluefin and yellowfin tuna.

Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between smaller bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna, especially because they tend to lose their coloring after a long fight. Here are a few pointers to help you identify the difference between bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna, which have different regulations.

➤ Bluefin Tuna

Photo taken by Conor Doherty.
Photo taken by Conor Doherty.

1. The pectoral fin of bluefin do not reach past the beginning of the second dorsal fin.
2. The silver underside of a bluefin’s body is marked with white dots and uneven lines.
3. The second dorsal fin is a mix of grey and yellow in color.
4. The tail fin is dark blue in color.

➤ Yellowfin Tuna

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between smaller bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna, especially because they tend to lose their coloring after a long fight.

1. The pectoral fin of yellowfin reaches just beyond the beginning of the second dorsal fin.
2. The second dorsal fin has yellow coloring.
3. The tail fin has yellow and grey coloring.

To purchase your NMFS Atlantic tuna permit, visit https://hmspermits.noaa.gov.

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7 on “Identifying Bluefin vs Yellowfin Tuna

  1. Tony

    Perfect way of explaining it with pictures I need to know your not allowed to take bluefin in Mexican water

    1. Lily

      thanks Tony-these gorgeous/delicious fishpeople are being fished to extinction–because they are sooooo tasty. Well. Let’s let them repopulate. And appreciate their gifts to us.
      Reutrn all fishbones to the habitat.

      1. Bob Forehead

        In the North Atlantic, bluefin tuna are well managed so their numbers are growing. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  2. Micksbass

    Blue or yellow, adult 5to 6ft long 2 pectoral fins but yellow stripe along length.

  3. Bob Naden

    Commonsense
    1985-1989
    Striper was not fished in states
    Unfortunately
    5 years even tuna
    Unless global
    Cooperation
    Their Doomed
    Very sad

  4. Garrett

    Yes, we are loosing the Yellowfin and Bluefin Tunas globally but there is still hope. The University of Rhodes Island has been successfully raising Yellowfin Tuna in an olympic sized swimming pool tank. I’m working on farming with Rainbow Trout and Atlantic Salmon right now but hope to expand into saltwater farms (one or two fish species per farm) as well with Striped Bass, Yellowfin Tuna, Bluefish, etc. I would like to see farms with cod, haddock, winter flounder, mahi-mahi in the future too. More research is needed for these species before they can be farmed successfully. This will likely be the future of commercial fishing and it would take the pressure off of what we love to do the most.

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