Surf's Up Magazine

Bluefin vs Yellowfin Tuna

  • Date: February 9, 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Fishing for bluefin and yellowfin tuna is as good as it gets for big game anglers. Not only are they strong fighters, but they are sought-after at the dinner table.

Bluefins and yellowfins may sometimes appear to be the same. This is because they frequently dwell in the same habitats. It might be difficult to tell bluefin vs. yellowfin tuna apart because of this. However, don’t worry, we will walk you through the differences between the two in this article.

Bluefin tuna is a species comprised of three different kinds of fish. These are the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern bluefin. We’ll stick to comparing the two types of bluefin that are most prevalent and frequently mistaken with yellowfin tuna: the Atlantic and Pacific bluefins.

Before we look at the distinctions between bluefin and yellowfin tuna, we’ll take a look at where you can catch them. If you already know which seas your favorite fish lives in, scroll down to the Appearance section.

bluefin vs yellowfin tuna

Bluefin vs Yellowfin Tuna: Habitat

Yellowfin tuna are found in a variety of locations around the world. Yellowfins, like other tunas, frequently swim well beyond continental shelves when the weather is warmer. Mid-ocean islands are common habits for yellowfins. In general, yellowfins prefer colder seas than bluefins do.

Yellowfin Habitat

Yellowfins may be found in the eastern Pacific near the Hawaiian islands. They can also be found in numerous offshore islands off Baja California, according to one study. As a result, they have become a popular target on long range fishing excursions in California.

On the Atlantic coast, yellowfin can be found from Nova Scotia to North Carolina. Moreover, the Caribbean, The Azores, The Canary Islands, Saint Helena and Ascension Island are popular roaming waters for the yellowfin. South Africa and Madagascar and Western Australia also play host to yellowfins.

yellowfin tuna
Yellowfin. Source: Carolina Sportsman

Bluefin Habitat

The Atlantic bluefin is one of the most valuable fish in the world. Unsurprisingly it’s a scarce fish. It exists throughout the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They mostly stick to North America’s eastern seaboard. A portion of them migrate every year to the Mediterranean and a section to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn.

The bluefin tuna, also known as the bigeye tuna or pacific bluefin. The Pacific ocean is the primary habitat of the bluefin. They begin their migration from Japan’s shores and make a long swim to the western Pacific when they are juveniles.

atlantic bluefin tuna
Atlantic Bluefin. Source: Wikipedia

Yellowfin vs Bluefin Tuna: Appearance

The size of bluefin tuna is considerably greater than that of yellowfin tuna. Bluefins weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Yellowfins weight between 400–500 pounds. Classifying younger bluefins as adult yellowfin relatives, on the other hand, might be difficult.

Fortunately, there are a few key features that distinguish them:

  • The underside of a bluefin is silver and has uneven lines. The underside of a Yellowfin is also silver, yet there’s also a distinct yellow lateral line.
  • The second dorsal fin of a bluefin tuna is gray and yellow. The second dorsal fin of a yellowfin is bright yellow.
  • The pectoral fins of bluefin tuna do not extend beyond the second dorsal fin. The pectoral fin of a yellowfin is significantly longer than that of a bluefin.
  • A bluefin’s tail is a dark blue color, unlike the yellow-and-gray combination on a yellowfin.

Bluefin vs. Yellowfin Tuna: Taste

The most expensive and exquisite fish on the market is the bluefin tuna. They’ve grown in popularity among high-end dining establishments due to their excellent fatty flesh. A Japanese restaurant chain recently acquired a single bluefin tuna for $3 million!

Bluefin tuna is now increasingly available in restaurants. You can occasionally find bluefin at supermarkets. However, they’re most likely farmed and lack the taste and richness of a wild-caught bluefin.

Yellowfin tuna has a milder flavor than bluefin tuna and is less fatty. Despite the fact that it lacks the coveted fat content of bluefin tuna, yellowfin meat is still high-quality.

Yellowfin tuna is one of the most flavorful types of fish available. It’s excellent for sashimi and steaks, and it’s also available in cans. You’ll notice that yellowfin tuna costs far less than bluefin tuna.

bluefin vs yellowfin tuna taste


Bluefin and yellowfin tuna are two distinct species of tuna that have different conservation statuses. Bluefin tune are far more scarce than yellowfin tuna.

Some bluefin subspecies have been heavily fished to the verge of extinction owing to their delectable meat. As a result, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies Atlantic bluefin tuna as “endangered” and Southern bluefin tuna as “critically endangered.”

If you’re looking to buy tuna for food, we recommend that you always choose the most ecologically responsible option.


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