Yellowfin Tuna


  • Status
    Near Threatened
  • Scientific Name
    Thunnus albacares
  • Weight
    up to 450 pounds
  • Length
    up to 7 feet
  • Habitats

Yellowfin tuna are torpedo-shaped with dark metallic blue backs, yellow sides, and a silver belly. They have very long anal and dorsal fins and finlets that are bright yellow. Yellowfin can live up to six or seven years. They are highly migratory and are found throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. They form schools with other tunas like skipjack and bigeye, and are also known to associate with dolphins. Yellowfin are able to breed year-round.

A better way to fish for yellowfin tuna in the Philippines

High demand for yellowfin makes it an important economic lifeline for some communities in the Philippines. Unfortunately, yellowfin populations can’t handle much more pressure from fishing.
tuna spring2018

Why They Matter

  • Yellowfin are an important commercial tuna species, particularly the raw sashimi market. Although tuna do provide food and livelihoods for people, they are more than just seafood. Tuna are a top predator in the marine food chain, maintaining a balance in the ocean environment.


  • Extinction Risk Near Threatened
    1. EX

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Yellowfin Tuna

Here a leatherback turtle was accidentally caught by a tuna fishery. Like turtles, tuna are affected by bycatch too.


Since juvenile yellowfin school with adult skipjack, they are increasingly caught as bycatch by vessels that target skipjack. The removal of these juveniles before they have a chance to spawn could lead to fewer yellowfin in the long term.


According to information collected by the ISSF Scientific Advisory Committee, the Eastern Pacific stock of yellowfin is overfished and some overfishing is occurring in the Indian Ocean.

What WWF Is Doing

Yellowfin Tuna

Tuna are integral parts of the entire marine ecosystem and our goal is for populations to be healthy and well-managed. We partner with governments and regional fisheries management organizations to advocate for stricter plans to recover depleted tuna stocks, combat pirate fishing and reduce bycatch.

WWF works with other organizations and the fishing industry to transform tuna fishing into a sustainable business, particularly through certification of tuna fisheries by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). WWF helps ensure that tuna are harvested responsibly and sustainably managed through work with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). We encourage retailers to source from fisheries that are MSC-certified and work to raise consumer awareness about sustainably caught tuna.

Related Species