Tuna is a highly prized fish that has been enjoyed by seafood enthusiasts for generations. It is a versatile fish that boasts a delectable taste and adaptable texture. However, not all tuna share the same qualities.
Some varieties are a true reflection of the finest that the ocean has to offer, and they come with a hefty price tag. In this article, we will unveil the top 5 most expensive types of tuna in 2023. These tuna species are highly sought after and are considered a luxury food item. The prices of these tuna species can vary depending on factors such as location, season, and availability.
Top 5 Most Expensive Types Of Tuna In 2023
Bluefin tuna is considered the most luxurious and highly prized type of tuna, sometimes referred to as the Ferrari of tuna. It is known for its dark, ruby-red flesh that is often served as sashimi.
Bluefin tuna is caught in various parts of the world, but those caught in the waters surrounding Japan are considered the most expensive. In 2019, a Japanese sushi tycoon named Kiyoshi Kimura made headlines by purchasing a colossal bluefin tuna weighing 612 pounds for a staggering $3.1 million.
The price of bluefin tuna can vary depending on factors such as location, season, and availability. If purchased from a local fresh fish market, be prepared to pay anywhere between $18 and $50 per pound.
The recent news of a giant 212 kg bluefin tuna being sold for $275,000 USD at the Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo indicates that prices for bluefin tuna are recovering and demand is increasing.
Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) is a species of tuna found in pelagic waters of tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. It is torpedo-shaped with dark metallic blue backs, yellow sides, and a silver belly.
Yellowfin tuna has a mild, meaty flavor and is more flavorful than albacore, but leaner than bluefin. The meat is firm and moist, with large flakes, and is bright red when raw and turns brown to grayish-tan when cooked.
Yellowfin tuna is a larger fish in the tuna species, reaching weights over 180 kg (400 lb), but is significantly smaller than the Atlantic and Pacific bluefin tunas, which can reach over 450 kg (1000 lb) .
Yellowfin tuna is often marketed as ahi, from the Hawaiian ʻahi, a name also used there for the closely related bigeye tuna. Yellowfin tuna is a highly migratory species and is found throughout the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. It forms schools with other tunas like skipjack and bigeye and is also known to associate with dolphins.
Yellowfin tuna is an important commercial tuna species, particularly for the raw sashimi market. U.S. wild-caught Pacific and Atlantic yellowfin tuna are smart seafood choices because they are sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.
Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) is a species of true tuna of the genus Thunnus, belonging to the wider mackerel family Scombridae.
Bigeye tuna are dark metallic blue on the back and upper sides and white on the lower sides and belly. The first fin on their back is deep yellow, the second dorsal and anal fins are pale yellow, and the finlets are bright yellow with black edges.
Bigeye and yellowfin tuna look fairly similar. In fact, it’s hard to distinguish the two species without experience. Among other characteristics, the bigeye’s eyes are larger than the yellowfin’s and their finlets have black edges.
Bigeye tuna can grow up to 250 centimeters (98 inches) or 8 feet, in length. Maximum weight of individuals probably exceeds 180 kg (400 lb), with the all-tackle angling record standing at 178 kg (392 lb). Bigeye tuna are generally the size of yellowfin, and smaller than bluefin.
Bigeye tuna are found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans, but not in the Mediterranean Sea. They are a highly migratory species, swimming long distances throughout the ocean. They often swim in schools and live at or near the surface but dive to depths of 500 meters (1,640 feet) or more.
Bigeye tuna is an excellent source of healthy, extra lean protein. It is also low in saturated fat and low in sodium. It is rich in niacin, vitamin B6, and selenium.
U.S. wild-caught Pacific and Atlantic bigeye tuna are smart seafood choices because they are sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. The stocks are not overfished and not subject to overfishing. Fishing gear used to catch bigeye tuna rarely contacts the seafloor so habitat impacts are minimal. Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch.
Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) is a species of tuna that is commonly used in canned tuna.
Skipjack tuna have a streamlined body that is mostly without scales. Their backs are dark purple-blue and their lower sides and bellies are silver with four to six dark bands. Skipjack tuna do not have scales except on the corselet (a band of large, thick scales behind the head) and the faint lateral line running lengthwise down each side of the fish.
Skipjack tuna are the smallest of the major commercial tuna species. They can grow up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) in length and weigh up to 34 kg (75 pounds).
Skipjack tuna are found in most waters all over the world, but are rarely seen in the North Sea and have never been caught in the Black Sea. They are a highly migratory species that move between the jurisdiction of multiple nations as well as the high seas, and as such their management requires international cooperation.
Skipjack tuna are schooling migratory fishes that tend to school with each other, other tuna, whales or sharks.
Skipjack tuna is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is low in fat and calories, making it a healthy food choice.
Skipjack tuna is considered a sustainable seafood choice. The stock is not overfished and not subject to overfishing. Fishing gear used to harvest skipjack tuna has no impact on habitat because it does not contact the ocean floor. Bycatch is minimal because rod-and-reel gear and hand lines are very selective.
Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) is a species of tuna found in temperate and tropical waters across the globe in the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones.
Albacore tuna has an elongate, fusiform body with a conical snout, large eyes, and remarkably long pectoral fins. It is one of the smaller tuna species, reaching sizes between 3 and 4 feet long and weighing up to 80 pounds. Albacore tuna is often confused with juvenile bigeye tuna because the closely related bigeye tuna also have extremely long pectoral fins.
Albacore tuna is found in temperate and tropical waters across the globe in the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones. It is a highly migratory species found in all of the global oceans and Mediterranean Sea. Albacore tuna is an important upper tropic-level oceanic predator with a circum-global distribution between approximately 50°N and 40°S.
Albacore tuna is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is low in fat and calories, making it a healthy food choice. However, albacore tuna should be eaten in moderation due to its high mercury content.
Albacore tuna is one of the main four species of tuna that support oceanic fisheries along with the skipjack, yellowfin, and the bigeye tunas. Domestic tuna fleets and local fish processing operations contribute from 3-20% of the gross domestic product in four Pacific island countries and territories (PICTs).
Albacore tuna is classified as a Highly Migratory Species and is managed federally by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in cooperation with state fish and wildlife agencies. Albacore tuna can be caught off the Washington coast in summer and early fall, and August and September tend to be the most popular months for anglers.
1. What is the most expensive type of tuna?
The most expensive type of tuna is bluefin tuna, particularly those caught in the waters surrounding Japan, where they are auctioned off to local markets and prestigious sushi restaurants directly from the docks.
2. What is the price range for skipjack tuna?
Skipjack tuna falls just a little above albacore tuna, with the difference being almost insignificant. However, skipjack’s widespread availability as the most prevalent type of wild tuna helps keep its cost relatively affordable. The slight increase in price can be attributed to Skipjack’s favorable reputation among consumers. The price range for skipjack tuna is $23 to $30 per pound.
3. Is albacore tuna a sustainable seafood choice?
Yes, albacore tuna is considered a sustainable seafood choice. The stock is not overfished and not subject to overfishing. Fishing gear used to harvest albacore tuna has no impact on habitat because it does not contact the ocean floor. Bycatch is minimal because rod-and-reel gear and hand lines are very selective.
4. What is the nutritional value of yellowfin tuna?
Yellowfin tuna is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is low in fat and calories, making it a healthy food choice.
5. Why is bluefin tuna so expensive?
There are quite a few reasons why bluefin tuna is the most expensive type of tuna. Firstly, it’s the most sought-after type of tuna on the planet. Rather than being served in juice-filled cans, bluefin tuna is often served fresh, allowing diners to experience its mellow flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Secondly, bluefin tuna is a slow-growing species that takes years to mature, making it a rare and valuable commodity. Finally, overfishing and habitat destruction have led to a decline in bluefin tuna populations, further driving up the price.