The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest and longest-lived of the 15 known tuna species. Warm-blooded and able to grow as big as a polar bear, these fish are equipped with unique adaptations that make them dominant predators and a keystone species in the marine ecosystem. Although fishers have targeted Atlantic bluefin for thousands of years, only in recent decades has skyrocketing demand for high-end sushi driven a rise in overfishing and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing—and a drastic drop in the species’ population.
But if governments and fishery management organizations strengthen conservation and quota-enforcement efforts, this valuable species can recover.
The below animation from TED-Ed highlights the fascinating features of the Atlantic bluefin and why this remarkable fish has captivated humans for so many generations: